Psycholinguistic Aspects of Chinese Characters



The work is aimed at clarifying the psycholinguistic mechanism of Chinese hieroglyphic writing acquisition. The psycholinguistic experiment involved a survey and questionnaire among native and non-native speakers of Chinese regarding the perception of texts in two types of writing - hieroglyphic and transcriptional — according to four criteria: 1) speed of reading texts (subjective evaluation of respondents); 2) time taken to read texts in two different types of recording (objective evaluation); 3) degree of difficulty in perceiving transcribed texts (subjective evaluation of respondents); 4) number of times reading texts in pinyin transcription required to fully understand the content of the text (objective evaluation). Eight different authentic Chinese texts of different discourses with a total of 344 words were selected for the study, with the main group of respondents being native Chinese speakers of different professions, ages and gender, with different levels of English proficiency. A total of 128 respondents took part in the survey, of whom 55 respondents were native speakers of Chinese and 73 respondents were from different nationalities learning Chinese as a foreign language. The second part of the experiment was aimed at investigating the psycholinguistic mechanism of text transcoding from pinyin transcriptional recording to hieroglyphic recording by native speakers of Chinese. The results obtained allow us to say that, on average, reading texts of different discourses in pinyin transcription is 1.7 times longer than reading texts in hieroglyphic recording, reading and understanding texts written in pinyin transcription is more difficult for native speakers than reading and understanding hieroglyphic texts, especially texts of literary (poetic), folklore and ironic discourse, and when writing hieroglyphs, semantic and graphical errors are possible.

General Information

Keywords: reading, writing, transcribing texts from transcription to hieroglyphic writing, pinyin, hieroglyphic mistakes

Journal rubric: General and Comparative Historical Linguistics

Article type: scientific article


Received: 01.09.2023


For citation: Guruleva T.L., Abdrakhmanova A.R. Psycholinguistic Aspects of Chinese Characters [Elektronnyi resurs]. Âzyk i tekst = Language and Text, 2023. Vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 34–42. DOI: 10.17759/langt.2023100304. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Tatiana L. Guruleva, Doctor of Education, Professor, Department of Eastern Languages, All-Russian Academy of Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Alina R. Abdrakhmanova, Lecturer, Department of Far Eastern Languages, The Military University of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation named after Prince Alexander Nevsky, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



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