Processing Homophones Interactively: Evidence from eye-movement data

Mingjun Zhai, Michael C. W. Yip

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The question of how to process an ambiguous word in context has been long-studied in psycholinguistics and the present study examined this question further by investigating the spoken word recognition processes of Cantonese homophones (a common type of ambiguous word) in context. Sixty native Cantonese listeners were recruited to participate in an eye-tracking experiment. Listeners were instructed to listen carefully to a sentence ending with a Cantonese homophone and then look at different visual probes (either Chinese characters or line-drawing pictures) presented on the computer screen simultaneously. Two findings were observed. First, the results revealed that sentence context exerted an early effect on homophone processes. Second, visual probes that serve as phonological competitors only had a weak effect on the spoken word recognition processes. Consistent with previous studies, the patterns of eye-movement results appeared to support an interactive processing approach in homophone recognition.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9812
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2018


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