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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."

New from Cambridge University Press!


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: Cascading activation across levels of representation in children's lexical processing
Author: Yi Ting Huang
Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Author: Jesse Snedeker
Institution: Harvard University
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science; Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Recent work in adult psycholinguistics has demonstrated that activation of semantic representations begins long before phonological processing is complete. This incremental propagation of information across multiple levels of analysis is a hallmark of adult language processing but how does this ability develop? In two experiments, we elicit measures of incremental activation of semantic representations during word recognition in children. Five-year-olds were instructed to select a target (‘logs’) while their eye-movements were measured to a competitor (‘key’) that was semantically related to an absent phonological associate (‘lock’). We found that, like adults, children made increased looks to competitors relative to unrelated control items. However, unlike adults, children continued to look at the competitor even after the target word was uniquely identified and were more likely to incorrectly select this item. Altogether, these results suggest that early lexical processing involves cascading activation but less efficient resolution of competing entries.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 38, Issue 3.

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