Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"'Radical' Thinking about Character Recognition: The structure of the Chinese orthography and its ramifications" at Pitt, February 26.



The Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh will present M.A. candidate Frank Dolce and his talk "'Radical' Thinking about Character Recognition: The structure of the Chinese orthography and its ramifications" on February 26. The abstract:
Previous research has examined cross-linguistic importance of phonological and morphological awareness in Chinese and English word recognition, yet few studies have focused on the earlier, pre-lexical aspects of character recognition and evaluated why orthographic awareness is central to Chinese literacy development. Comparing spread of lexical activation between orthographic, phonologic and semantic stores in English and Chinese reading have helped to specify the lexical pathways underlying character decoding and reading comprehension as part of word recognition. The visual orthographic complexity and coarse form-form mappings of the logographic character system, considered in conjunction with the observations of the Lexical Constituency Model and other reading research, suggests that Chinese pre-lexical processing is exclusively orthographic and threshold-based. Sub-character radicals are decomposed sub-lexical (but not “pre-lexical”) representations and are utilized in unfamiliar reading (based on radical frequency and regularity,
and other factors). Radical parts are only accessed after orthographic lexical representations are already assembled, meaning their access involves top-down morpho-orthographic decomposition. The first study proposal uses two character recognition training tasks to examine the pre-lexical processing pathway that leads to the perceptual assembly of lexical orthographic representations. Beginning with the basic premise that the semantic cues provided by radical parts also contribute to reading of unfamiliar graphic forms, additional studies are proposed comparing the relevance of visual, orthographic and semantic salience of character components in pseudocharacter recall. It is anticipated that graphic and semantic salience of radicals will have independent and additive
effects on recall of unfamiliar forms and both may be able to be incorporated into L2 pedagogies.
The talk is held in room 4217 Posvar Hall (campus map) from 11:00 am and is free and open to the public.

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