Ghee’s review article (Chapter 26) suggests that, although on the surface English and Chinese may look very different languages, fMRI studies have shown that more or less the same left hemisphere areas are responsible for their processing.
It is noted, however, that the role of linguistic proficiency of subjects in their second language is a crucial factor in this. Understanding the neuro-cognitive bases of different types of developmental language disorders such as specific language impairment (SLI) has attracted much research attention.
SLI involves a poor awareness of grammar, especially verbs. Cross-linguistic studies of SLI (e.g. the article by Fletcher and colleagues, Chapter 27) Shoes Online suggest that the linguistic nature of deficits observed in SLI-affected children is similar in English and Chinese, in spite of the wide difference between the two languages.
Next, the tonal quality of Chinese speech has certain neuro-cognitive features that are typical to it. Gandour (Chapter 28) discusses neuro-imaging research on Chinese tone and intonation and compares them with the perception of similar acoustic events in English.
Brain activation maps reveal differences in hemispheric lateralization when English and Chinese subjects extract tone-related information. All research in psycholinguistics, as in other fields; ultimately aims to formulate formal models that would help explain data as well as predict cognitive behaviour.
According to Li (Chapter 29), connectionist frameworks of cognition could offer a fruitful way to model language acquisition in Chinese. The author notes that so far there has not been any important work on Chinese language acquisition using the connectionist model.
Jerome L. Packard (Chapter 30) discusses the manifestation of language-specific aphasic symptoms in Chinese. As has been already pointed out above, the neural as well as behavioural aspects of Chinese character identification have for a long time been a major item on the research agenda. Pend and Jiang (Chapter 31) point out that processing of sub-character as well as character units are done differently and these could be interpreted on the same lines as researchers do for alphabetic scripts.
Tan and Siok in their chapter on neuro-imaging evidence for Chinese character and visual world recognition (Chapter 32) evaluate thoroughly Discount Shoes the available evidence from their own work as well as fMRI-based works of others. The paper is a sound resource for fMRI data and their explanation of Chinese reading is valuable for someone who is interested in cross-linguistic comparisons.
This is a good volume for psycholinguists who are interested in cross-linguistic issues and applied linguists interested in psycholinguistic issues. Less attractive are the thematic repetitions (e.g. on character recognition) and some chapters are too sketchy to be successful entries in a handbook. Although the papers successfully reveal the idiosyncratic properties of Chinese language processing, more could have been done to chart the implications for psycholinguistic theorizing.
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