A phonetic radical account of the phonology-to-Orthography consistency effect on writing Chinese characters: Evidence from a Chinese Dysgraphic patient

Dustin Kai Yan Lau, Karen Hau Wan Ma

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the sublexical route in writing Chinese characters. Using a writing-to-dictation task, we compared neurotypical participants’ performance on writing a set of 40 characters with homophones sharing different phonetic radicals and another set of 40 characters with homophones sharing the same phonetic radicals. The first set of stimuli was regarded as both syllable-to-character and syllable-to-radical inconsistent, while the second set of stimuli was considered syllable-to-radical consistent but syllable-to-character inconsistent. The results of the error analysis showed that the control participants demonstrated a greater tendency to make errors with preserved phonetic radicals in the second set of stimuli. Furthermore, we conducted the same task with a Chinese brain-injured patient, WCY, who had mild dyslexia and severe dysgraphia associated with mild impairment to the lexical semantic route as shown by the patient’s character writing. The results showed that WCY demonstrated similar error patterns as those of the control participants and a shorter writing time in the second set of stimuli. Altogether, the observations were taken as evidence that supported our claim that a syllable-to-phonetic radical route governs the sublexical route in Chinese character writing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-414
Number of pages12
JournalCognitive Neuropsychology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2018


  • Chinese
  • dysgraphia
  • Phonology-to-orthography consistency
  • writing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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