Structural representations of characters in chinese writing: Evidence from a case of acquired dysgraphia

Sam Po Law, Man Tak Leung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we present writing data of a Hong Kong Chinese brain-damaged patient with acquired dysgraphia. In light of the properties of her writing errors, we make inferences about the structural representations of Chinese characters in writing. We propose that 'logographemes' - a concept grounded in logography - are the basic units not only in constructing Chinese characters, but also the basic units of processing in writing, on the basis that most of her errors in a delayed copying task involve logographemes rather than functional units such as the signific and the phonetic components. More specifically, the patient's errors include substitution, deletion, insertion, and transposition of logographemes, resulting in non-characters in most cases, and occasionally real characters. Furthermore, in errors where 2 or more logographemes are involved, the logographemes often form larger units that may appear in real characters. This provides evidence suggesting that the structural representation of a character is hierarchical in nature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-83
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2000


  • Acquired dysgraphia
  • Characters
  • Chinese
  • Structural representations
  • Writing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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