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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

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Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Morphological processing of Chinese compounds from a grammatical view
Author: Phil D. Liu
Institution: Chinese University of Hong Kong
Author: Catherine McBride-Chang
Institution: Chinese University of Hong Kong
Linguistic Field: Morphology
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
Abstract: In the present study, morphological structure processing of Chinese compounds was explored using a visual priming lexical decision task among 21 Hong Kong college students. Two compounding structures were compared. The first type was the subordinate, in which one morpheme modifies the other (e.g., 籃 球 [laam4 kau4, basket-ball, basketball]), similar to most English compounds (e.g., a snowman is a man made of snow and toothpaste is a paste for teeth; the second morpheme is the “head,” modified morpheme). The second type was the coordinative, in which both morphemes contribute equally to the meaning of the word. An example in Chinese is 花 草 (faa1 cou2, flower grass, i.e., plant). There are virtually no examples of this type in English, but an approximate equivalent phrase might be in and out, in which neither in nor out is more important than the other in comprising the expression. For the subordinate Chinese compound words, the same structure in prime and target facilitated the semantic priming effect, whereas for coordinative Chinese compound words, the same structure across prime and target inhibited the semantic priming effect. Results suggest that lexical processing of Chinese compounds is influenced by compounding structure processing.


This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 31, Issue 4.

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