ERIC Number: ED122597
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1972
Reference Count: 0
Are Structural Features of Word Meaning Reflected in Judgements of Semantic Similarity and Difference?
Blaubergs, Maija S.
The question of whether word meanings have internal structure identical in kind to the syntax of sentences is examined. Evidence is sought for the structural aspects of word meaning and the issue of whether judgements of similarity between words is based on meaning content or on meaning structure is raised. Four hypotheses were tested: (1) structural components are elements of the internal lexicon and are used by speakers in making judgements of similarity; (2) core meanings representing fields in the internal lexicon are used by subjects in making similarity judgements; (3) if two aspects of meaning covary in a subset of words, both aspects are used as a basis for similarity judgements; (4) meaning content is a more salient basis for similarity judgement than are structural components. Two word-comparison tasks were used to test the hypotheses, sorting and triad comparison. In the latter, subjects make judgements of similarity or difference about three words at a time. Results show that the meaning content appears more salient than meaning structure, and only in certain cases does the latter provide a basis for similarity judgements. Because of different strategies used by subjects, however, a direct relationship between similarity judgements and the content of the internal lexicon cannot be assumed. (CLK)
Descriptors: Cognitive Processes, Deep Structure, Language Patterns, Language Research, Linguistic Theory, Models, Psycholinguistics, Semantics, Structural Analysis, Surface Structure, Syntax
Maija S. Blaubergs, Educational Psychology Dept., University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
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