Recently, Zhang Qingfang and her research group of the Department of Psychology, Renmin University of China (RUC) published an article entitled “Facilitation effect of token syllable frequency in Chinese spoken word production” on Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, a psychological journal with 4.7 impact factor.
Syllable frequency effects in spoken word production have been interpreted as evidence that speakers store syllable-sized motor programmes for phonetic encoding in alphabetic languages such as English or Dutch. However, the cognitive mechanism underlying the syllable frequency effect in Chinese spoken word production remains unknown. To investigate the locus of the syllable frequency effect in spoken Chinese, this study used a picture–word interference (PWI) task in which participants were asked to name the picture while ignoring the distractor word. The design included two variables: the syllable frequency of the target words (high vs. low) and the phonological relationships between distractor and target words (shared atonic syllable or not; related vs. unrelated). We manipulated mixed token and type syllable frequency in Experiment 1, and token syllable frequency but controlled type syllable frequency in Experiment 2. The results showed a facilitation effect of mixed syllable frequency and a similar facilitation effect of token syllable frequency. Importantly, the syllable frequency effect was found to be independent of the phonological facilitation effect. These results suggest that token syllable frequency played a dominant role in the observed facilitation effect, providing evidence that the syllable frequency effect arises in the phonetic encoding of Chinese spoken word production.
For more details, please refer to https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/s13423-023-02374-3.