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ERIC Number: EJ1159324
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Nov
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0364-0213
Wordform Similarity Increases with Semantic Similarity: An Analysis of 100 Languages
Dautriche, Isabelle; Mahowald, Kyle; Gibson, Edward; Piantadosi, Steven T.
Cognitive Science, v41 n8 p2149-2169 Nov 2017
Although the mapping between form and meaning is often regarded as arbitrary, there are in fact well-known constraints on words which are the result of functional pressures associated with language use and its acquisition. In particular, languages have been shown to encode meaning distinctions in their sound properties, which may be important for language learning. Here, we investigate the relationship between semantic distance and phonological distance in the large-scale structure of the lexicon. We show evidence in 100 languages from a diverse array of language families that more semantically similar word pairs are also more phonologically similar. This suggests that there is an important statistical trend for lexicons to have semantically similar words be phonologically similar as well, possibly for functional reasons associated with language learning.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (NIH); National Institutes of Health (DHHS); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: F32HD070544