The role of subsyllabic units in the visual word recognition of Korean monosyllabic words: A masked priming study

Volume 17
Issue 3
Say Young Kim & Donald J. Bolger
Native speakers of Korean have been shown to prefer a left-branching body-coda subsyllabic structure over a right branching onset-rime structure when processing monosyllabic words in written language. However, counterarguments have been made that the highly transparent nature of Korean hangul provides no preference for larger subsyllabic units beyond the phoneme. A masked priming lexical decision experiment was conducted to determine whether this subsyllabic preference occurs for orthographic processing in Korean. C 1VC2 structured monosyllabic target words preceded by one of four different types of primes at a short prime duration (50 ms): body (C1VC), rime (CVC2), identical (C1VC2), and non-match (C2VC1). Both identical and body prime conditions elicited a significant priming effect as consistent with the leftbranching model in Korean. The present study provides converging evidence for a left-branching model of subsyllabic structure in visual word recognition in Korean using a masked priming paradigm.

Keywords: orthographic priming, syllable structure, subsyllabic unit, Korean