This article reviews a number of key linguistic and psycholinguistic findings pertaining to Mandarin Chinese compound words, their representation, and their processing in the visual modality. The article begins with a linguistic overview of Mandarin compounds. Next, the issue of the basic unit of representation in the Mandarin mental lexicon is discussed, and the conclusion is reached that this unit is the word rather than the morpheme. A number of factors influencing visual access to compounds in languages in general and Mandarin in particular are identified, and empirical findings on these factors are summarized. The article concludes by examining the relationship between Chinese orthography and compound processing in Mandarin, and by identifying a number of issues which await discussion in future research.

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