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Words and Meaning: from Primitives to Complex organization

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gina oracion

on 13 January 2014

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Transcript of Words and Meaning: from Primitives to Complex organization

Psycholinguistics
By: Gina M. Oracion
Words and Meanings: from Primitives to Complex Organizations
Where do we store words?
How are they organized in our mind, and how do we recognize words that we see or hear?

What is meaning?
And how do words relate to meanings?
→ 
WORDS AND MEANINGS: SEPARATE BUT LINKED DOMAINS
Words and meanings are related but separated entities.
→3 arguments make this point.
1. The translation argument
2. The imperfect mapping illustration
3. The elasticity argument
THE STUDY OF WORDS
Word Primitives
"
The impartial judge ruled the defendants guilty"
Multimorphemic word→e.g. impartial, ruled, defendants
Morpheme (the smallest meaningful unit of language)→e.g. judge
Free-morpheme, bound-morpheme

Hypothesis
1. Each word is a separate entry in our lexicons and is thus its own primitive. (Aitchison,1987)
2. Words are made up of constituent morphemes and that these morphemes serve as word primitives. (MacKay, 1979)
EVIDENCE ABOUT WORD PRIMITIVES
Lexical decision task/ the reaction times
Multimorphemic words
>
composed of a single morpheme

Derivational morphemes→e.g. prefix -er
Inflectional morphemes→e.g. plurality -s/-es

Compound words
Semantically opaque→ process as a single morpheme
Semantically transparent→ process as two separate morphemes

The cognitive system balances between thrift in space and thrift in processing.
Factors Influencing Word Access and Organization
Factors Influencing Word Access and Organization
GRAMMATICAL CLASS
Words association tasks (Ervin, 1957; Jenkins, 1970)
Words→Open-class words / Closed-class words
Lexical decision task (Bradley, 1983)
→no frequency effects for closed-words.
PHONOLOGY
Tip-of-the-tongue" phenomenon (Brown and McNeil, 1966)
→similar sound words > similar meaning words
"Bathtub effect" (Aitchison, 1987)
→words that start with the same sound and homophones
Models of Lexical Access
Serial Search Models and Parallel Access Models
→both types of model consider word recognition an automatic process.
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