The roles of lexical tone and rime during Mandarin sentence comprehension: An event-related potential study

Yun Zou, Ming LUI, Yiu Kei TSANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This study used event-related potential (ERP) recording to examine the role of lexical tone and rime in Mandarin Chinese spoken sentence comprehension. A violation paradigm was adopted, such that selected target syllables in the sentences were replaced with tone-violated, rime-violated, or double-violated syllables. Participants judged whether each sentence was congruent. The behavioral results confirmed previous findings: Tone violation was more difficult to detect than rime violation. The ERP results showed that rime and double violations, but not tone violation, elicited a larger N400 than the original condition. Similarly, tone and rime violations elicited a larger P600 than the original condition, and the effect started and ended 50 ms earlier in the tone-violation type. Interestingly, the double-violation type differed significantly from the original type only in the posterior electrodes, suggesting a weaker P600 effect than the tone- and rime-violation types. The differences in ERP effects between rime and tone processing indicate that rime played a more important role in semantic access, while tone played a more important role in error recovery. A model of Chinese speech perception was proposed to accommodate the different roles of lexical tone and rime at different processing stages during sentence comprehension.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107578
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume147
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

User-Defined Keywords

  • Event-related potentials
  • Lexical tone
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Rime
  • Speech perception

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