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Conceptual combination in nominal compounds: The effects of semantic transparency and frequency
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Compounding is a productive type of word-formation, especially in Germanic languages.However, the cognitive strategies involved in conceptual combination of compoundconstituents are still under debate. The linguistic construct of semantic transparency hasoften been regarded as a crucial factor in compound processing, although empiricalevidence has been mixed. The present study aims at investigating the effects of semantictransparency and frequency manipulations on the time signature and outcomes ofconceptual combination of nominal compounds in a Swedish adult sample. The categoricvariables of semantic transparency (transparent vs. opaque) and frequency (lexicalizedvs. novel) were manipulated in a set of 40 nominal compound words, which werepresented along with two depictions. One of the two depictions was “nondestructive”(i.e., compositional), and the other “destructive” (i.e., with a constituent reduced to onemain characteristics). Subjects were to choose the best depiction for each compound.Response times (RTs) and depictions of choice were recorded during each trial. Contraryto previous research, RTs were significantly shorter for opaque than for transparentstimuli, in both lexicalized and novel conditions. However, opaque stimuli were alsosignificantly more likely to yield an incorrect response in lexicalized conditions thanwere their transparent counterparts. In novel conditions, a significant interaction wasfound between semantic transparency and percentage of correct responses, indicating thatsubjects were highly likely to interpret novel compounds nondestructively. In conclusion,the results of the present study provide support for the interplay between parameters fromlinguistics and cognitive science, which might be engaged to different degrees in nominalcompound processing.

Abstract [sv]

Sammansättning är en mycket produktiv ordbildningstyp, särskilt inom germanska språk. Dock är de kognitiva strategier som ligger bakom begreppskombinering genom sammansatta ord fortfarande föga kartlagda. Semantisk trasparens betraktas ofta som en viktig faktor i begreppskombinering genom sammansättningar, trots att empiriska resultat har varit blandade. Studiens syfte är att undersöka om semantisk transparens i sammansatta ord förutsäger RT hos 26 svenska vuxna deltagare. Den andra frågan utrönar om det går att finna mönster i hur vuxna kombinerar begrepp, och jämföra dessa med barns nybildade sammansättningar. För att besvara dessa frågor manipulerades semantisk transparens (transparent vs. opak) och frekvens (lexikaliserad vs. nybildad) i 40 svenska sammansatta ord, vilka var och en presenterades tillsammans med två bilder. En av bilderna var icke-destruktiv (dvs. kompositionell) och den andra var destruktiv (dvs. ett av de två sammansatta orden hade reducerats till en karaktäristisk egenskap). Deltagarna valde den bild som bäst skildrade ordets betydelse. I motsats till tidigare forskning var RT signifikant kortare för opaka jämfört med transparenta sammansättningar, oavsett om dessa var lexikaliserade eller nybildade. Dock gav opaka sammansättningar signifikant färre korrekta svar jämfört med de transparenta. För nya sammansättningar sågs ett signifikant samband mellan transparens och korrekt svar: vuxna deltagare valde oftast en icke-destruktiv strategi för att tolka nya sammansättningar. Studien bidrar med kunskap om hur begrepp kombineras och sammansättningar processas genom att visa hur lingvistiska och kognitiva parametrar samspelar i olika hög grad.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 33
Keywords [en]
conceptual combination, nominal compound processing, semantic transparency, compound frequency, cognitive strategies, destructive vs. nondestructive combination
Keywords [sv]
begreppskombinering, sammansättning, semantisk transparens, ordfrekvens, kognitiva strategier
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-150032OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-150032DiVA, id: diva2:1230517
Subject / course
Masteruppsats i kognitionsvetenskap
Educational program
Master's Programme in Cognitive Science
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-02-11 Created: 2018-07-03 Last updated: 2019-02-11Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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