Comparing the Influence of Orthography and Phonology on the Mental Lexicon
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The classifi cation of words in the human mind is known as the "mental lexicon". This lexicon is organized based on the phonological, orthographic and semantic similarity between words. It has been hypothesized that the similarities between words in the lexicon can be used to facilitate the learning of new words. In the present work, I compare a set of distances between words judged by human subjects to a set of distances generated using the Levenshtein distance, to show how much overlap the lexicon has between orthography and phonology and which factor is dominant. The results indicate that orthography appears to be the dominant factor, and that there is significant though limited overlap between orthography and phonology. However, no definitive conclusion can be drawn because of the small sample size and various problems with the data.
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen