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"Radical" Thinking about Character Perception: Specifying Pre-lexical and Sub-lexical Processes of Chinese Reading

Dolce, Frank (2015) "Radical" Thinking about Character Perception: Specifying Pre-lexical and Sub-lexical Processes of Chinese Reading. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Previous research has examined cross-linguistic importance of phonological and morphological awareness in Chinese and English word recognition, yet few studies have focused on the earlier, pre-lexical aspects of character recognition and evaluated why orthographic awareness is central to Chinese literacy development. Comparing spread of lexical activation between orthographic, phonologic and semantic stores in English and Chinese reading have helped to specify the lexical pathways underlying character decoding and reading comprehension as part of word recognition. The visual orthographic complexity and coarse form-form mappings of the logographic character system, considered in conjunction with the observations of the Lexical Constituency Model and other reading research, suggests that Chinese pre-lexical processing is exclusively orthographic and threshold-based. Sub-character radicals are decomposed sub-lexical (but not “pre-lexical”) representations and are utilized in unfamiliar reading (based on radical frequency and regularity, and other factors). Radical parts are only accessed after orthographic lexical representations are already assembled, meaning their access involves top-down morpho-orthographic decomposition. The first study proposal uses two character recognition training tasks to examine the pre-lexical decoding mechanism that results in perceptual assembly of lexical orthographic representations. Beginning with the basic premise that the semantic cues provided by radical parts also contribute to reading of unfamiliar graphic forms, two follow-up proposals compare the relevance of visual, orthographic and semantic salience of radical components to both real and pseudocharacter recall. It is anticipated that graphic and semantic salience of radicals will have independent and additive effects on recall of unfamiliar forms and both may be able to be incorporated into L2 pedagogies.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Dolce, Frankfmd8@pitt.eduFMD8
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairJuffs, Alanjuffs@pitt.eduJUFFS
Committee MemberPerfetti, Charlesperfetti@pitt.eduPERFETTI
Committee MemberWu,
Date: 31 May 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 6 April 2015
Approval Date: 31 May 2015
Submission Date: 16 April 2015
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 90
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > East Asian Studies
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chinese, character, perceptual, radical, sub-lexical, orthographic awareness
Date Deposited: 31 May 2015 18:55
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:27


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