Sandhi-tone words prolong fixation duration during silent sentence reading in Chinese

Jinger Pan, Caicai Zhang, Xunan Huang, Ming Yan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The current study examined whether or not lexical access is influenced by detailed phonological features during the silent reading of Chinese sentences. We used two types of two-character target words (Mandarin sandhi-tone and base-tone). The first characters of the words in the sandhi-tone condition had a tonal alternation, but no tonal alternation was involved in the base-tone condition. Recordings of eye movements revealed that native Mandarin Chinese readers viewed the base-tone target words more briefly than the sandhi-tone target words when they were infrequent. Such articulation-specific effects on visual word processing, however, diminished for frequent words. We suggest that a conflict in tonal representation at a character/morpheme level and at a word level induces prolongation in fixation duration on infrequent sandhi-tone words, and conclude that these tonal effects appear to reflect articulation simulation of words during the silent reading of Chinese sentences.

Original languageEnglish
JournalReading and Writing
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2020


  • Chinese
  • Eye movement
  • Sentence reading
  • Tone sandhi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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