The morphosyntactic structure of compound words influences parafoveal processing in Chinese reading

Drieghe, Denis, Cui, Lei, Yan, Guoli, Bai, Xuejun, Chi, Hui and Liversedge, Simon Paul orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8579-8546 (2018) The morphosyntactic structure of compound words influences parafoveal processing in Chinese reading. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section B, 71 (1). pp. 190-197. ISSN 0272-4995

[thumbnail of AAM]
PDF (AAM) - Accepted Version

Official URL:


In an eye movement experiment employing the boundary paradigm (Rayner, 1975) we compared parafoveal preview benefit during the reading of Chinese sentences. The target word was a 2-character compound that had either a noun-noun or an adjective-noun structure each sharing an identical noun as the second character. The boundary was located between the two characters of the compound word. Prior to the eyes crossing the boundary the preview of the second character was presented either normally or was replaced by a pseudo-character. Previously, Juhasz, Inhoff and Rayner (2005) observed that inserting a space into a normally unspaced compound in English significantly disrupted processing and that this disruption was larger for adjective-noun compounds than for noun-noun compounds. This finding supports the hypothesis that, at least in English, for adjective-noun compounds, the noun is more important for lexical identification than the adjective, while for noun-noun compounds, both constituents are similar in importance for lexical identification. Our results indicate a similar division of the importance of compounds in reading in Chinese as the pseudo-character preview was more disruptive for the adjective-noun compounds than for the noun-noun compounds. These findings also indicate that parafoveal processing can be influenced by the morphosyntactic structure of the currently fixated character.

Repository Staff Only: item control page