For Chinese compounds, neighbors can share either both orthographic forms and meanings, or orthographic forms only. In this study, central presentation and visual half-field (VF) presentation methods were used in conjunction with ERP measures to investigate how readers solve the sublexical semantic ambiguity of the first constituent character in reading a disyllabic compound. The sublexical ambiguity of the first character was manipulated while the orthographic neighborhood sizes of the first and second character (NS1, NS2) were controlled. Subjective rating of number of meanings corresponding to a character was used as an index of sublexical ambiguity. Results showed that low sublexical ambiguity words elicited a more negative N400 than high sublexical ambiguity words when words were centrally presented. Similar patterns were found when words were presented to the left VF. Interestingly, different patterns were observed for pseudowords. With left VF presentation, high sublexical ambiguity psudowords showed a more negative N400 than low sublexical ambiguity pseudowords. In contrast, with right VF presentation, low sublexical ambiguity pseudowords showed a more negative N400 than high sublexical ambiguity pseudowords. These findings indicate that a level of morphological representation between form and meaning needs to be established and refined in Chinese. In addition, hemispheric asymmetries in the use of word information in ambiguity resolution should be taken into account, even at sublexical level. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.