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Concept: Lexicography


ABSTRACT For sixty-seven children with ASD (age 1;6 to 5;11), mean Total Vocabulary score on the Language Development Survey (LDS) was 65·3 words; twenty-two children had no reported words; and twenty-one children had 1-49 words. When matched for vocabulary size, children with ASD and children in the LDS normative sample did not differ in semantic category or word-class scores. Q correlations were large when percentage use scores for the ASD sample were compared with those for samples of typically developing children as well as children with vocabularies <50 words. The 57 words with the highest percentage use scores for the ASD children were primarily nouns, represented a variety of semantic categories, and overlapped substantially with the words having highest percentage use scores in samples of typically developing children as well as children with lexicons of <50 words. Results indicated that the children with ASD were acquiring essentially the same words as typically developing children, suggesting delayed but not deviant lexical composition.

Concepts: Autism, Language, Asperger syndrome, Autism spectrum, Speech, Lexicography, Word game, Vocabulary


Because individuals with acquired language disorders are frequently unable to reliably access the names of common everyday objects (i.e., naming impairment), rehabilitation efforts often focus on improving naming. The present study compared 2 rehabilitation strategies for naming impairment, reflecting contradictory prescriptions derived from different theoretical principles. The prescription derived from psychological research on test-enhanced learning advocates providing patients opportunities to retrieve target names from long-term memory (i.e., retrieval practice) in the course of treatment. In contrast, the errorless learning approach derived from cognitive rehabilitation research eschews retrieval practice in favor of methods that minimize naming errors, and thus the potential for error learning, in the course of treatment. The present study directly compared these approaches and showed that, despite superior (and errorless) performance during errorless treatment, treatment that prioritized retrieval practice produced greater retention 1-day and 1-week following treatment. These findings have implications for clinical practice, as well as theoretical accounts of lexical access and test-enhanced learning. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Time, Psychology, Educational psychology, Linguistics, Learning, All rights reserved, American Psychological Association, Lexicography


There is compelling evidence that context strongly influences our choice of words (e.g., whether we refer to a particular animal with the basic-level name “bird” or the subordinate-level name “duck”). However, little is known about whether the context already affects the degree to which the alternative words are activated. In this study, we explored the effect of a preceding linguistic context on the phonological activation of alternative picture names. In Experiments 1 to 3, the context was established by a request produced by an imaginary interlocutor. These requests either constrained the naming response to the subordinate level on pragmatic grounds (e.g., “name the bird!”) or not (e.g., “name the object!”). In Experiment 4, the context was established by the speaker’s own previous naming response. Participants named the pictures with their subordinate-level names and the phonological activation of the basic-level names was assessed with distractor words phonologically related versus unrelated to that name (e.g., “birch” vs. “lamp”). In all experiments, we consistently found that distractor words phonologically related to the basic-level name interfered with the naming response more strongly than unrelated distractor words. Moreover, this effect was of comparable size for nonconstraining and constraining contexts indicating that the alternative name was phonologically activated and competed for selection, even when it was not an appropriate lexical option. Our results suggest that the speech production system is limited in its ability of flexibly adjusting and fine-tuning the lexical activation patterns of words (among which to choose from) as a function of pragmatic constraints. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Effect, Linguistics, Language, Phonetics, Noun, Name, Lexicography, .jobs


Cognates share their form and meaning across languages: “winter” in English means the same as “winter” in Dutch. Research has shown that bilinguals process cognates more quickly than words that exist in one language only (e.g. “ant” in English). This finding is taken as strong evidence for the claim that bilinguals have one integrated lexicon and that lexical access is language non-selective. Two English lexical decision experiments with Dutch-English bilinguals investigated whether the cognate facilitation effect is influenced by stimulus list composition. In Experiment 1, the ‘standard’ version, which included only cognates, English control words and regular non-words, showed significant cognate facilitation (31ms). In contrast, the ‘mixed’ version, which also included interlingual homographs, pseudohomophones (instead of regular non-words) and Dutch-only words, showed a significantly different profile: a non-significant disadvantage for the cognates (8ms). Experiment 2 examined the specific impact of these three additional stimuli types and found that only the inclusion of Dutch words significantly reduced the cognate facilitation effect. Additional exploratory analyses revealed that, when the preceding trial was a Dutch word, cognates were recognised up to 50ms more slowly than English controls. We suggest that when participants must respond ‘no’ to non-target language words, competition arises between the ‘yes’- and ‘no’-responses associated with the two interpretations of a cognate, which (partially) cancels out the facilitation that is a result of the cognate’s shared form and meaning. We conclude that the cognate facilitation effect is a real effect that originates in the lexicon, but that cognates can be subject to competition effects outside the lexicon.

Concepts: Linguistics, German language, Lexeme, Dutch language, Morphology, Lexicography, Lexicon, Etymology


We report two experiments that investigate the effects of sentence context on bilingual lexical access in Spanish and English. Highly proficient Spanish-English bilinguals read sentences in Spanish and English that included a marked word to be named. The word was either a cognate with similar orthography and/or phonology in the two languages, or a matched non-cognate control. Sentences appeared in one language alone (i.e., Spanish or English) and target words were not predictable on the basis of the preceding semantic context. In Experiment 1, we mixed the language of the sentence within a block such that sentences appeared in an alternating run in Spanish or in English. These conditions partly resemble normally occurring inter-sentential code-switching. In these mixed-language sequences, cognates were named faster than non-cognates in both languages. There were no effects of switching the language of the sentence. In Experiment 2, with Spanish-English bilinguals matched closely to those who participated in the first experiment, we blocked the language of the sentences to encourage language-specific processes. The results were virtually identical to those of the mixed-language experiment. In both cases, target cognates were named faster than non-cognates, and the magnitude of the effect did not change according to the broader context. Taken together, the results support the predictions of the Bilingual Interactive Activation + Model (Dijkstra and van Heuven, 2002) in demonstrating that bilingual lexical access is language non-selective even under conditions in which language-specific cues should enable selective processing. They also demonstrate that, in contrast to lexical switching from one language to the other, inter-sentential code-switching of the sort in which bilinguals frequently engage, imposes no significant costs to lexical processing.

Concepts: Linguistics, Language, Word, German language, Lexeme, Multilingualism, Lexicography, Etymology


Recent research suggests that infants tend to add words to their vocabulary that are semantically related to other known words, though it is not clear why this pattern emerges. In this paper, we explore whether infants leverage their existing vocabulary and semantic knowledge when interpreting novel label-object mappings in real time. We initially identified categorical domains for which individual 24-month-old infants have relatively higher and lower levels of knowledge, irrespective of overall vocabulary size. Next, we taught infants novel words in these higher and lower knowledge domains and then asked if their subsequent real-time recognition of these items varied as a function of their category knowledge. While our participants successfully acquired the novel label-object mappings in our task, there were important differences in the way infants recognized these words in real time. Namely, infants showed more robust recognition of high (vs. low) domain knowledge words. These findings suggest that dense semantic structure facilitates early word learning and real-time novel word recognition.

Concepts: Language, Model theory, Ontology, Semantics, Knowledge, Semiotics, Lexicography, Domain engineering


The lexicon of 6-month-olds is comprised of names and body part words. Unlike names, body part words do not often occur in isolation in the input. This presents a puzzle: How have infants been able to pull out these words from the continuous stream of speech at such a young age? We hypothesize that caregivers' interactions directed at and on the infant’s body may be at the root of their early acquisition of body part words. An artificial language segmentation study shows that experimenter-provided synchronous tactile cues help 4-month-olds to find words in continuous speech. A follow-up study suggests that this facilitation cannot be reduced to the highly social situation in which the directed interaction occurs. Taken together, these studies suggest that direct caregiver-infant interaction, exemplified in this study by touch cues, may play a key role in infants' ability to find word boundaries, and suggests that early vocabulary items may consist of words often linked with caregiver touches. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at

Concepts: Language, Word, Sensory system, Somatosensory system, Proprioception, Lexeme, Lexicography, Somatic sensory system


Radiology reports can be difficult for a layperson to understand. MedlinePlus, a patient-oriented reference from the National Library of Medicine, may offer limited coverage of radiology report concepts. RadLex provides an extensive radiology vocabulary but may be ill suited to help patients understand radiology reports. We compared MedlinePlus, RadLex, and the PORTER (Patient-Oriented Radiology Reporter) lay-language radiology glossary for their coverage of radiology reports and for the readability of their definitions.

Concepts: Report, Radiology, Semantics, Technical communication, Library, Lexicography, National Library of Ireland


Radiology reporting is a clinically oriented form of documentation that reflects critical information for patients about their health care processes. Realizing its importance, many medical institutions have started providing radiology reports in patient portals. The gain, however, can be limited because of medical language barriers, which require a way for customizing these reports for patients. The open-access, collaborative consumer health vocabulary (CHV) is a terminology system created for such purposes and can be the basis of lexical simplification processes for clinical notes.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Medicine, Health, Patient, Physician, Illness, Lexicography


In this study we present a novel set of discrimination-based indicators of language processing derived from Naive Discriminative Learning (ndl) theory. We compare the effectiveness of these new measures with classical lexical-distributional measures-in particular, frequency counts and form similarity measures-to predict lexical decision latencies when a complete morphological segmentation of masked primes is or is not possible. Data derive from a re-analysis of a large subset of decision latencies from the English Lexicon Project, as well as from the results of two new masked priming studies. Results demonstrate the superiority of discrimination-based predictors over lexical-distributional predictors alone, across both the simple and primed lexical decision tasks. Comparable priming after masked corner and cornea type primes, across two experiments, fails to support early obligatory segmentation into morphemes as predicted by the morpho-orthographic account of reading. Results fit well with ndl theory, which, in conformity with Word and Paradigm theory, rejects the morpheme as a relevant unit of analysis. Furthermore, results indicate that readers with greater spelling proficiency and larger vocabularies make better use of orthographic priors and handle lexical competition more efficiently.

Concepts: Scientific method, Prediction, Greek loanwords, Cognition, Word, Orthography, Lexeme, Lexicography