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Lexical Tone in Word Activation

On the 16th of May, Qing Yang successfully defended a doctoral thesis. The Leiden University Centre for Linguistics congratulates Qing on this achievement!

Qing Yang
16 May 2024
Leiden University Repository

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.

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