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Results show significant effects of length longer RTs for longer items , of Number longer RTs for plurals and of subjective frequency longer RTs for low subjective frequency. Results show significant effects of length longer RTs for longer items , of corpus frequency longer RTs for low corpus frequency and of subjective frequency longer RTs for low subjective frequency.
Possibly, in model 1 Number is a significant predictor because the categorised items represent a subset that differ for frequency of occurrence in the plural. In fact, in model 2, in which both categorised and not categorised items were considered, no effect of Number was found. We discarded from testing material compounds, derived nouns and the nouns that differ for orthographic length or phonological form between singular and plural e. We calculated stem frequency of nouns and selected nouns uniformly span across the range of possible values of frequency.
The distribution of the subjective frequency is plotted in Table 5. Each noun was presented in the singular and in the plural totally experimental stimuli. The final list included filler words, consisting in adjectives and phonotactically plausible non-words. In both tasks, results from the three models showed effects of subjective frequency and corpus frequency but not of category in written word recognition. For what concerns the plural dominance issue, this result was in line with previous literature. For what concerns the mass-count issue, our results are unexpected instead.
Remind that frequency of occurrence in mass and count contexts was used to avoid biases in categorization of stimuli. Nevertheless, we did not observe differences in RTs between the two so categorized groups of nouns.
Key to frequency
Thus, we suggest that there is no need to postulate the computation of a lexical feature related to countability or uncountability in nouns. However the possibility for a noun to occur in the different syntactic contexts does not predict lexical decision RTs: frequency, as measured in the corpus and by the rating study, is the predictor of the lexical access times with respect to words presented in isolation.
In this sense, the mass-count issue is similar to the plural dominance phenomenon: even in that case, there is no need to assume the presence of a feature marking plurality, as the frequency of the inflected form is sufficient to account for the observed effects in lexical decision tasks.
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Chicago Linguistic Society. Balota, D. Subjective frequency estimates for 2, monosyllabic words. Baroni, M. Language Resources and Evaluation 43 3 , Biedermann, B. Does plural dominance play a role in spoken picture naming?
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A comparison of unimpaired and impaired speakers. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 26 6 , Cheng, C. Response to Moravcsik. Hintikka, J. Suppes eds.
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Marcantonio, A. Il nome. Renzi, G. Cardinaletti eds. Grande grammatica italiana di consultazione. Bologna: Il Mulino, Mondini, S. Lexical access of mass and count nouns. How word recognition reaction times correlate with lexical and morphosyntactic processing. The Mental Lexicon 4, Pelletier, F. Massam ed. Oxford: OUP, Williams, R.
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Frequency Dictionary of Italian Words (The Romance Languages and Their Structures First Series I1)
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