Predicting native Chinese readers’ perception of sentence boundaries in written Chinese texts

Kun Sun, Xiaofei Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The notion of sentencehood in Mandarin Chinese is much less well-defined than in many other languages, with a block of clauses often joined by commas without conjunctions and with the period often occurring at the end of a block of clauses to indicate meaning completeness rather than the completeness of a sentential structure. The potential factors that may affect native Chinese speakers’ judgment of meaning completeness and perception of sentence boundaries have not yet been systematically examined. In light of this research gap, this study investigates the factors that may play a role in native Chinese speakers’ sentence boundary perception. To this end, we conducted text re-punctuation experiments in two separate groups, a training group and a testing group, using different stimuli texts. The stimuli texts were annotated with multiple levels of linguistic information to identify potentially relevant variables that could affect the participants’ sentence boundary perception. Logistic regression and the Bayesian statistical methods were applied to test the potential effects of multiple variables on the participants’ responses. The logistic regression model trained on the data from the training group achieved a high level of accuracy in predicting the responses by the testing group. The model revealed a more important role of semantic information than syntactic information in the participants’ sentence boundary perception. The implications of our findings for understanding the perception of Chinese sentence boundaries are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1889-1910
Number of pages22
JournalReading and Writing
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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