Homophone density and phonological frequency in Chinese word recognition Academic Article uri icon


  • The present research factorially examined the effects of homophone density, visual frequency, and phonological frequency (defined here as the cumulative frequency of homophone mates) in Chinese visual word recognition. Stimuli were compound characters matched in semantic and phonetic radical neighbourhood density and in average visual frequency of orthographic neighbours. In contrast to a previous study with Chinese by Ziegler, Tan, Perry, and Montant (2000), no facilitative effect of phonological frequency was observed. Unlike previous findings with English readers of inhibitory effects of homophones, a facilitative effect of homophone density - restricted to low visual frequency words - was obtained for Chinese in both lexical decision (Exp. 1) and naming (Exp. 2), similar to Ziegler et al. (2000). Our results suggest that, when there is less possibility of sublexical competition between similar spellings, homophone density effects are facilitatory. This outcome supports theoretical positions regarding the mental representation of homophones that assume a single representation for homophones at the phonological word form level. 2009 Psychology Press, an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Chen, H., Vaid, J., & Wu, J.

citation count

  • 39

complete list of authors

  • Chen, Hsin-Chin||Vaid, Jyotsna||Wu, Jei-Tun

publication date

  • September 2009