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5. The Internal Lexicon.docx

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York University
PSYC 3290
Raluca Barac

5. The Internal Lexicon Thursday, January 31, 2013 8:30 AM Main points  When we know a word, we knows its phonological, morphological, syntactic, and semantic attributes  A word's meaning includes both sense and reference o Sense-- a word's relationships with other words o Reference-- the relationships between a word and an object or event in the world  The organization of word knowledge in permanent memory is called the internal lexicon  In a semantic network, words are represented as nodes and are connected via relations to other words in the network  Lexical access-- the process by which we activate our word knowledge o Influenced by the frequency of a word, its phonological and morphological attributes, whether it is ambiguous, and whether a semantically similar word has just been encountered Introduction  Of all the levels of language use, words are the most familiar  Retrieving information about words vs. storing words in memory  Internal lexicon-- the representation of words in permanent memory o Properties associated with a word that are also stored in the internal lexicon:  The meaning of the word  Its spelling  Its pronunciation  Its relationship to other words  Lexical access-- the process by which we activate these meanings  The internal lexicon may be activated in many ways: o 1) As a result of the perception of the world o 2) Through other words (because all words conjure up other words to varying degrees) Dimensions of word knowledge  There is more to word knowledge than meaning Phonological knowledge  One part of our word knowledge is the phonological structure or pronunciation of words  Tip-of-the-tongue (TOT) phenomenon-- we are not quite successful at retrieving a particular word but can remember something about how it sounds  We sometimes activate words by their sounds Syntactic knowledge  Another part of our knowledge of words is the syntactic category, or part of speech, to which they belong  One advantage of using syntactic categories is that we can formulate grammatical rules in terms of categories rather than lexical items  Syntactic categories: noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun, preposition, conjunction, interjection  Open-class words: content words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs)  Closed-class words: function words (determiners, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections)  Agrammatism-- a condition in which patients frequently omit closed-class words while preserving open-class words somewhat better  Syntactic categories are included in the lexical entries in our mental lexicons Morphological knowledge  Any effort to identify vocabulary size will eventually have to confront the morphology of the language  Two different kinds of bound morphemes: o Inflectional morphemes-- involved when a bound morpheme is added to a free morpheme to express grammatical contrasts in sentences (i.e., the plural morpheme for nouns, -s) o Derivational morphemes-- involved when bound morphemes, when added to free morphemes, create new words  When a word contains both inflectional and derivational morphemes, the derivational morphemes are applied first (I.e., neighborhoods not neighborshood)  Our ability to form various alternative forms of root words effectively means that there is no limit to the number of new words in a language Semantic knowledge  Sense and reference o Reference-- the relationship between words and things in the world o Referents-- the things in the world being referred to o Truth conditions-- the conditions under which the sentence may be said to be true o Reference concerns what the world should be like if a given utterance is true o We can construe reference not only within the real world as we know it, but also in the context of possible worlds (worlds that do not exist but might possibly exist) o Mental model-- a cognitive structure that represents some aspect of our environment o We may have mental modes of those aspects of the environment that correspond to words o Sense-- a words place in a system of relationships which it contrasts with other words in the vocabulary o Synonymy-- two words or expressions mean the same thing o Coordination-- two words exist at the same level in a hierarchy o Hypernymy-- the relationship of superordination within a hierarchy o Hyponymy-- the relationship of subordination within a hierarchy o Meronymy-- the parts of an object referred to by a word o Word-association test-- participants are read aloud a list of words and asked to give the first word that comes to mind other than the word itself  Four types of semantic relationships are produced:  Taxonomic relations-- coordinate, hypernym, hyponym, meronym  Attributive relations-- terms that identify attributes of the word (mostly adjectives)  Functional relations-- words that identify a function of the word  Denotation and connotation o Denotation-- the objective or dictionary meaning of a word  Dictionary definition includes: phonological information (pronunciation), orthographic information (spelling), syntactic information (part of speech), semantic information (various meanings), morphological information (related words), and etymology o Connotation-- certain aspects of a word's meaning beyond that which it explicitly means or describes Summary  To use words effectively in our daily lives, we must utilize our stored knowledge of words, which includes phonological, syntactic, morphological, and semantic aspects  These aspects enable us to produce words, create new forms of words, and understand the meanings of words Organization of the internal lexicon  Two issues: how the internal lexicon is organized and how we access lexical information  These issues are interdependent because the manner in which we store information is related to the ease of retrieval The concept of a semantic network  The main idea regarding the organization of the lexicon is that it is set up as a semantic network of interconnected elements  Semantic network-- a model of semantic memory in which words are represented as nodes and connected to other nodes by various semantic relationships Hierarchical network models  A network is hierarchal if some if these elements stand above or below other members of the network  Collins & Quillian model (1969, 1970, 1972) o Concepts similar to the word are represented as distinct nodes in a network of taxonomic and attributive relations o Cognitive economy-- the space available for the storage of semantic information was limited, so that it would be beneficial to store information only in one place in the network o The information would be stored only at the highest possible node o Semantic verification task-- in this task, a person is presented with a statement of the form An A is a B and asked to determine as quickly as possible whether the sentence is true or false (the time taken to answer is measured)  The measured time is thought to reflect the organization of information in the internal lexicon o Intersection search-- the process of retrieving information from a semantic network o Category-size effect-- in a statement of the form An A is a B or An A has a B, the higher the location of B in the hierarchy in relation to A, the longer the reaction times. o Criticism: the model assumed that all items on a given level of the hierarchy were more or less equal, but this is not always true o Typicality effect-- items that are more typical of a given subordinate take less time to verify than atypical items in true statements (the opposite is true for false statements) o Results suggest that a strict cognitive economy model is not a good candidate for a model of the internal lexicon o Basic-level terms-- A level near the middle of a hierarchy where most of the distinguishing features are assigned o If more attributes are stored at basic-level terms, rather than the highest level in the hierarchy, then the hierarchical network model has some plausibility Spreading activation models  We can modify the hierarchical assumption while retaining the idea of a network  This class of models is referred to as spreading activation models  Collins & Loftus model (1975) o Collins & Loftus assume that words are represented in the internal lexicon in a network, but the organization is not strictly hierarchical o The organization is closer to a web of interconnecting nodes, with the distance between the nodes determined by both structural characteristics such as taxonomic relations and considerations such as typicality and degree of association between related concept o The notion that all relations between concepts are equal is revised by assuming that some nodes are more accessible than others and that the degree of accessibility is related to factors such as frequency of usage and typicality o Retrieval: instead of an intersection search throughout the network, retrieval occurs by a process of spreading activation-- activation begins at a single node and then spreads in parallel throughout the network o Better than Collins & Quillian model, but still has limitations  Little attention is paid to the phonological, syntactic, and morphological aspects of words (then, it is a model of concepts rath
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