Previous studies have shown that access to conceptual/semantic information precedes phonological access in alphabetic language production such as English or Dutch. The present study investigated the time course of semantic and orthographic encoding in Chinese (a non-alphabetic language) spoken word production. Participants were shown pictures and carried out a dual-choice go/nogo task based on semantic information and orthographic information. The results of the N200 (related to response inhibition) and LRP (related to response preparation) indicated that semantic access preceded orthographic encoding by 176-202 ms. The different patterns of the two N200 effects suggest that they may tap into different processes. The N200 and LRP analyses also indicate that accessing the orthographic representation in speaking is likely optional and depends on specific task requirement. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.