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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton November 4, 2010

Are high-frequency collocations psychologically real? Investigating the thesis of collocational priming

Philip Durrant and Alice Doherty
From the journal


Words which frequently co-occur in language (‘collocations’) are often thought to be independently stored in speakers' minds. This idea is tested here through experiments investigating the extent to which corpus-identified collocations exhibit mental ‘priming’ in a group of native speakers. Collocational priming is found to exist. However, in an experiment which aimed to exclude higher-order mental processes, and focus instead on the ‘automatic’ processes which are thought to best reflect the organisation of the mental lexicon, priming is restricted to collocations which are also psychological associates. While the former finding suggests that collocations found in a large corpus are likely to have psychological reality, the latter suggests that we may need to elaborate our models of how they are represented.

Published Online: 2010-11-04
Published in Print: 2010-October

© 2010 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/New York

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