Homophone auditory processing in cross-linguistic perspective

Youtao Lu, James L. Morgan


Previous studies reported conflicting results for the effects of homophony on visual word processing across languages. On finding significant differences in homophone density in Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and English, we conducted two experiments to compare native speakers’ competence in homophone auditory processing across these three languages. A lexical decision task showed that the effect of homophony on word processing in Japanese was significantly less detrimental than in Mandarin and English. A word-learning task showed that native Japanese speakers were the fastest in learning novel homophones. These results suggest that language-intrinsic properties influence corresponding language processing abilities of native speakers.


lexical ambiguity; homophony; auditory word processing; cross-linguistic study

Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v5i1.4733

Copyright (c) 2020 Youtao Lu, James L. Morgan

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Donate to the Open-Access Fund of the LSA

Linguistic Society of America

Advancing the Scientific Study of Language since 1924

ISSN (online): 2473-8689

This publication is made available for free to readers and with no charge to authors thanks in part to your continuing LSA membership and your donations to the open access fund.