The Japanese Mental Lexicon

Psycholinguistic Studies of Kana and Kanji processing

Joseph F. Kess | University of Victoria
Tadao Miyamoto | University of Victoria
ISBN 9789027221896 (Eur) | EUR 110.00
ISBN 9781556197611 (USA) | USD 165.00
ISBN 9789027274182 | EUR 110.00 | USD 165.00
Google Play logo
This book surveys the psycholinguistic dimensions of lexical access to the mental lexicon in Japanese, and attempts to synthesize the diversity of Japanese psycholinguistic research into the nature of written word processing in Japanese. Ten chapters focus on the nature of such psycholinguistic inquiry and its history, the structural origins of the Japanese script types and their relative frequencies, lexical access studies in kanji, the hiragana and katakana syllabaries, romaji, and mixed text processing, laterality preferences in kana/kanji processing and their implications for scientific discussions of language and cognition, evidence from eye-movement studies, the acquisition of orthographic skills by Japanese children, and a review of the implications and conclusions that arise from the contributions of such research. The text is directed at filling the need for an overview of this research because of its importance to theoretical modelling in linguistics and psychology, as well as aphasiology, mathematical and statistical linguistics, educational practices and governmental intervention in respect to language policies, and studies of linguistic and cultural history.
[Not in series, 95] 1999.  x, 268 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“This is one of the finest works of its type I have ever seen. It really does an excellent job of covering the field, both in breadth and depth. The ambitious goal of reviewing both the Japanese and western contributions to
Japanese psycholinguistics is fully met. The chapters on processing of kanji, kana, and romaji are especially welcome.”
“The authors have summarized the diverse and complex studies of Japanese orthography in a comprehensive and insightful manner. The book does an excellent job of introducing the complex ways in which the three major Japanese scripts interact with reading abilities, cognitive and perceptual processing, and with cultural perceptions, and so this volume is of interest no only for reading specialists and psycholinguists, but also for those interested in the social aspects of literacy. I found this book highly readable, wide-ranging in scope, and exceptionally perceptive in its summary of the large body of research devoted to this unique and fascinating orthography.”
“How does lexical access become word recognition when processing written Japanese? Japanese has the distinction of employing all three extant means for transferring sound to written symbol (the alphabetic, the syllabic, and the logographic) and, thus, provides an informative counterpoint to current research on written word recognition. In this highly readable book, authors Kess and Miyamoto make the point that the cognitive considerations in processing Japanese orthography are not unique, although since George Sansom‘s famous 1928 remark — “as a practical instrument it is surely without inferiors” — we have treated the Japanese writing system as if it were, and uniquely bad at that. This volume, packed with facts and findings from the latest research, demonstrates that support for the absolute uniqueness of logographic systems and, by extension, of the Japanese mixed system is considerably weaker than has been posited by some. Kess and Miyamoto go a long way toward bringing the Japanese reader/writer out of the isolation attendant upon having “the worst” writing system into the central cross-linguistic debates on reading and writing processes.”
“In their final conclusion, Kess/Miyamoto indicate that their original intention was to survey the rich field of Japanese psycholinguistic research on the mental lexicon: "We stood in awe of the vast range of individual talent which has gone into consolidating this key area in Japanese scholarship, and we can only hope that we have done it justice".(p.208). In the reviewer's perspective, Kess/Miyamoto have succeeded in achieving their grand objective.”
“This book is a comprehensive study of psycholinguistic aspects of Japanese writing. It does not present new findings, but rather refers the reader to the relevant empirical studies, emphasizing the significance of familiarity and frequency of usage rather than the difference between the writing systems.”
Cited by

Cited by 7 other publications

Allen, David & Kathy Conklin
2014. Cross-linguistic similarity norms for Japanese–English translation equivalents. Behavior Research Methods 46:2  pp. 540 ff. DOI logo
Hatta, Takeshi & Ayako Kawakami
2003. Effects of script type on a word-referents comparison task in the Japanese writing system. Asia Pacific Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing 8:1  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Hatta, Takeshi, Ayako Kawakami & Katsuo Tamaoka
2002. Errors in writing Japanese kanji: a comparison of Japanese schoolchildren, college students and second-language learners of Japanese. Asia Pacific Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing 7:3  pp. 157 ff. DOI logo
Niino, Masaaki, Yusei Miyazaki, Arman Altincatal, Nick Belviso, Michihiro Kanda, Ichino Chinen, Michael Edwards, Carl de Moor, James R. Williams & Stephen M. Rao
2023. Processing speed test: Results from a Japanese normative sample of healthy participants compared with a US normative sample. Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery 230  pp. 107790 ff. DOI logo
Runner, Jacob Wayne
2022. Script and Language as Semiotic Media in Japanese Storytelling: A Theoretical Approach through Haruki Murakami’s Noruwei no mori. Humanities 11:5  pp. 106 ff. DOI logo
Wiese, Heike
2003. Numbers, Language, and the Human Mind, DOI logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 19 april 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Main BIC Subject

CF: Linguistics

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  99044919 | Marc record