Mandarin Chinese modality exclusivity norms

I. Hsuan Chen, Qingqing Zhao, Yunfei Long, Qin Lu, Chu Ren Huang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Modality exclusivity norms have been developed in different languages for research on the relationship between perceptual and conceptual systems. This paper sets up the first modality exclusivity norms for Chinese, a Sino-Tibetan language with semantics as its orthographically relevant level. The norms are collected through two studies based on Chinese sensory words. The experimental designs take into consideration the morpho-lexical and orthographic structures of Chinese. Study 1 provides a set of norms for Mandarin Chinese single-morpheme words in mean ratings of the extent to which a word is experienced through the five sense modalities. The degrees of modality exclusivity are also provided. The collected norms are further analyzed to examine how sub-lexical orthographic representations of sense modalities in Chinese characters affect speakers’ interpretation of the sensory words. In particular, we found higher modality exclusivity rating for the sense modality explicitly represented by a semantic radical component, as well as higher auditory dominant modality rating for characters with transparent phonetic symbol components. Study 2 presents the mean ratings and modality exclusivity of coordinate disyllabic compounds involving multiple sense modalities. These studies open new perspectives in the study of modality exclusivity. First, links between modality exclusivity and writing systems have been established which has strengthened previous accounts of the influence of orthography in the processing of visual information in reading. Second, a new set of modality exclusivity norms of compounds is proposed to show the competition of influence on modality exclusivity from different linguistic factors and potentially allow such norms to be linked to studies on synesthesia and semantic transparency.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0211336
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Mandarin Chinese modality exclusivity norms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this