Mora or more? The phonological unit of Japanese word production in the Stroop color naming task

Rinus G. Verdonschot*, Sachiko Kinoshita

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    In English, Dutch, and other European languages, it is well established that the fundamental phonological unit in word production is the phoneme; in contrast, recent studies have shown that in Chinese it is the (atonal) syllable and in Japanese the mora. The present study investigated whether this cross-language variation in the size of the unit of word production is due to the type of script used in the language (i.e., alphabetic, morphosyllabic, or moraic). Capitalizing on the multiscriptal nature of Japanese, and using the Stroop color naming task, we show that the overlap in the initial mora between the color name and the written distractor facilitates color naming independent of script type. These results confirm the mora as the phonological unit of word production in Japanese, and establish the Stroop color naming task as a useful task for investigating the fundamental (or “proximate”) phonological unit used in speech production.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)410–425
    Number of pages16
    JournalMemory and Cognition
    Volume46
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

    Keywords

    • language production
    • psycholinguistics

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