Character transposition effects in reading Chinese: Evidence from coordinative compound word recognition

Character transposition effects in reading Chinese: Evidence from coordinative compound word recognition

First Author: Jing Sun -- University of Cincinnati
Additional authors/chairs: 
Hye K. Pae; Quintino R. Mano
Keywords: (Chinese) characters, Decoding, orthographic processing, Orthographic complexity, Word recognition processes
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose
Research on reading alphabetic English has shown a processing cost on reading letter-scrambled texts. Chinese texts do not have space between characters and most of Chinese lexicon are two-character compound words. However, character transposition effects have not been studied in the context of reading Chinese coordinative compound words, which have unique characteristics in orthographic similarities between the two characters.
The purpose of this study was to investigate character transposition effects in the recognition of Chinese coordinative compound words among native Chinese readers, and to examine whether character order encoding within coordinate compound words would be modulated by inter-character orthographic similarities.
Method
Seventy-two native Chinese readers participated in a lexical decision task. The stimuli were 120 two-morpheme coordinative compound words. Participants’ reaction times and accuracy rates were recorded and analyzed for a 2 (orthographically similar, dissimilar) x 3 (base word, transposed nonword, random nonword) within-subject repeated measures ANOVA.
Results
The results demonstrated character position effects and inter-character orthographic similarity effects during the recognition of Chinese coordinative compound words. Furthermore, we found that character position encoding was modulated by the orthographic information of the constituent characters and the inter-character orthographic relationship within the coordinative compound words.
Conclusions
This study developed understanding of character transposition effects in reading Chinese coordinative compound words, which have inter-character orthographic similarity characteristics. There was an interference of orthographic characteristics of Chinese coordinative compound words on character position encoding. The results were interpreted with letter position encoding models proposed within the context of reading scrambled English words.