A spoken word is a linearized sequence of sounds; therefore, speakers must always start with the beginning portion of a word when preparing to speak it. This is not only true for producing a simplex word like "bandit," but has been shown to be true for producing a compound word such as "weekday." We investigated whether this word-onset-first planning strategy was also observed in Mandarin Chinese. The form preparation paradigm was used. The first morpheme of a disyllabic compound word served as the prompt to cue the participants to produce the second morpheme. The second morphemes of the compound words shared the same segmental syllables or did not. A significant preparation effect was observed in Experiment 1 and replicated in Experiment 2. Experiment 3 using the first character to cue the second character of a monomorpheme two-character word also found a significant preparation effect. The results indicated that compound words are not processed in the same way in English and Mandarin Chinese. Potential accounts are discussed of the cross-language difference.
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