Mandarin Chinese compounds, their representation, and processing in the visual modality

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22 Scopus citations


This article reviews a number of key linguistic and psycholinguistic findings pertaining to Mandarin Chinese compound words, their representation, and their processing in the visual modality. A summary of a number of key facts about compounds and compounding in general is followed by a linguistic overview of Mandarin compounds. Next, the issue of the basic unit of representation in the Mandarin mental lexicon is discussed, and the conclusion is reached that this unit is the word rather than the morpheme. A number of factors influencing visual access to compounds in languages in general and Mandarin in particular are identified and empirical findings on these factors are summarized. The article concludes by examining the relationship between Chinese orthography and compound processing in Mandarin and by identifying a number of issues which await to be addressed in future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-21
Number of pages17
JournalWriting Systems Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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