Chinese on the Brain

  • Clay WilliamsEmail author
Part of the Springer Texts in Education book series (SPTE)


This chapter reviews the relevant literature on how Chinese script is processed at the character level. Basic word decoding processes (used in any written script) are reviewed, along with language-specific accommodations made to the basic model for the case of Chinese. Confirmatory evidence of these hypotheses on word identification are reviewed, including the literature on reading impairments such as dyslexia and language-specific neurological differences seen in Chinese readers. The basic means of character identification (through character-internal radical analysis) is discussed, and evidence from the literature on psycholinguistic studies including priming and fMRI studies is used to confirm this as the basis for character-level processing in Chinese, and indeed, reveals Chinese reading as quite unique compared with alphabetically transcribed languages. Other salient differences between Chinese processing and that of other languages are discussed, such as the difficulty in defining “words” and cerebral asymmetries vis-à-vis with reading in other languages.


Chinese Character Dyslexic Child Semantic Radical Chinese Reader Phonetic Radical 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Akita International UniversityAkitaJapan

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