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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

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Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Cognitive mechanism of writing to dictation of logographic characters
Author: Zaizhu Han
Institution: Beijing Normal University
Author: Luping Song
Institution: Stanford University
Author: Yanchao Bi
Institution: Beijing Normal University
Linguistic Field: Psycholinguistics; Writing Systems
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
Abstract: The cognitive mechanisms for writing to dictation of Chinese syllables by healthy adults were investigated using large-sample multiple regression analyses. In the experiment, subjects wrote down a corresponding character upon hearing a syllable. We mainly examined the effects of three types of attributes (i.e., lexical, semantic, and phonology to orthography conversion [POC] ones) in predicting the production probability of specific characters out of the homophone families for target syllables. We observed significant effects for all three types of attributes, as well as interactions between POC and the lexical attributes, and between POC and the semantic attributes. We further found that the semantic effects vanished for the writing stimuli without homophones. A feedback procedure (i.e., phonetic radical transparency) was also observed to influence Chinese writing performances. Our results support the hypothesis that the extent of semantic involvement in writing (spelling) to dictation is influenced by the effectiveness of POC procedure in a certain language and/or word set. The existence of an interaction between the lexical semantic route and the POC route in writing is further consolidated.


This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 33, Issue 3.

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