Effects of phrase and word frequencies in noun phrase production

Zeshu Shao, J Van Paridon, F Poletiek, Antje S Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

There is mounting evidence that the ease of producing and understanding language depends not only on the frequencies of individual words but also on the frequencies of word combinations. However, in two picture description experiments, Janssen and Barber (2012) found that French and Spanish speakers’ speech onset latencies for short phrases depended exclusively on the frequencies of the phrases but not on the frequencies of the individual words. They suggested that speakers retrieved phrase-sized units from the mental lexicon. In the present study, we examined whether the time required to plan complex noun phrases in Dutch would likewise depend only on phrase frequencies. Participants described line drawings in phrases such as rode schoen [red shoe] (Experiments 1 and 2) or de rode schoen [the red shoe] (Experiment 3). Replicating Janssen and Barber’s findings, utterance onset latencies depended on the frequencies of the phrases but, deviating from their findings, also depended on the frequencies of the adjectives in adjective-noun phrases and the frequencies of the nouns in determiner-adjective-noun phrases. We conclude that individual word frequencies and phrase frequencies both affect the time needed to produce noun phrases and discuss how these findings may be captured in models of the mental lexicon and of phrase production. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-165
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • Language production
  • Mental lexicon
  • Multiword frequency
  • Word frequency
  • SPEECH PRODUCTION EVIDENCE
  • LEXICAL ACCESS
  • RECOGNITION
  • language production
  • NORMS
  • multiword frequency
  • SPOKEN
  • SPREADING-ACTIVATION THEORY
  • EYE-MOVEMENTS
  • PHONOLOGICAL FACILITATION
  • LANGUAGE PRODUCTION
  • mental lexicon
  • word frequency
  • DETERMINER SELECTION

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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