Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 888–892

What are effective phonological units in Cantonese spoken word planning?

Brief Reports

DOI: 10.3758/PBR.16.5.888

Cite this article as:
Wong, A.WK. & Chen, HC. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (2009) 16: 888. doi:10.3758/PBR.16.5.888


Two picture—word interference experiments were conducted to investigate the nature of effective phonological units in Cantonese spoken word production. The names of the pictures were Cantonese monosyllables with a consonant 1 vowel 1 consonant (CVC) structure. Participants’ picture-naming responses were faster when the target (e.g., “star” /sing1/) and the distractor shared the same CVC component (e.g., /sing4/, meaning “city”), the same CV component (e.g., /sik6/, “eat”), or the same VC component (e.g., /ging2/, “region”), as opposed to when they were unrelated, and the facilitation effects observed were comparable in size. Also, similar facilitation effects were obtained across the CV1tone-related and the VC1tone-related conditions, whereas no reliable effect was found in the V1tone-related condition. These results indicate that an effective phonological unit in spoken word planning is neither a syllable (without tone) nor a segmental unit, and that the possible candidates lie between the two, at least in Cantonese.

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatin N.T., Hong Kong S.A.R.China