Universiteit Leiden

nl en

PhD defence

Lexical Tone in Word Activation

  • Q. Yang
Thursday 16 May 2024
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof.dr. Y. Chen
  • Prof.dr. N. Schiller


The dissertation investigates the role of lexical tone in spoken word recognition and production. In particular, it focuses on three groups of speakers: native speakers of Standard Chinese, bi-dialectal speakers of Standard Chinese and Xi’an Mandarin, and bilingual speakers of Standard Chinese and English. Through a series of experiments employing the eye-tracking visual world paradigm and the picture-word interference paradigm, four key issues were explored: the role of lexical tone in Mandarin spoken word recognition; tonal interference in bi-dialectal spoken word recognition; the activation of lexical tone in bilingual spoken word production; and the influence of lexical tone on the bilingual mental lexicon. The findings of this dissertation not only showed how Mandarin listeners utilize tonal information during tone word recognition but also revealed dynamic tonal interaction between language systems. Overall, this dissertation contributes to a deeper understanding of lexical access by highlighting the significant role of lexical tone in both monolingual and bilingual contexts, shedding light on the intricate processes involved in spoken word recognition and production across languages.

PhD dissertations

Approximately one week after the defence, PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

Press enquiries (journalists only)

+31 (0)71 527 1521

General information

Beadle's Office
+31 71 527 7211

This website uses cookies.  More information.