Cues as Functional Constraints on Sentence Processing in Chinese

Ping Li, Elizabeth Bates, Hua Liu, Brian MacWhinney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The language-specific properties of Chinese provide a unique testgro-und for theories in sentence processing. This chapter examines the psycholinguistic mechanisms underlying Chinese sentence comprehension processes with results from two experiments. First, an off-line experiment was designed to investigate how Chinese speakers use word order and animacy cues in processing simple sentences. The results are largely compatible with previous studies in that Chinese speakers rely more on animacy than on word order. Second, an on-line experiment was designed to tap into the role of word order, animacy, the object marker BA, and the passive marker BEI in real-time processing of Chinese sentences. Consistent with the results from the off-line experiment, this experiment shows that different cues play different roles in the interpretation process, but they interact with each other as a function of competition and convergence that correspond to the patterns of cue use in the language. These studies also provide clues to the dynamic properties of sentence processing in general

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-234
Number of pages28
JournalAdvances in Psychology
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


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