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The Boundaries of Lexical Innovation within a Question-Defined Semantic Cohort

Camilo Andres Bonilla Carvajal
Published Online: 2014-12-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/opli-2014-0008


This study explores the amount of lexical innovation (hapax legomena or non repeated words) during a question-led (i.e. semi spontaneous) spoken word production task. Native adult non-impaired Spanish speakers (n = 8) were asked the same question 8 times with an interval of one day each; 4 participants answered the stimulus question in L1 and 4 did so in English. Participants were also given specific instructions to avoid conscious verbal monitoring, specially trying to evade or emphasise word repetition. Their responses were not time controlled. Quantitative word analysis reveals all subjects have recourse to an increased percentage of lexical recycling (vocabulary repetition), idiomatic and phraseology recurrence, as well as a limited percentage of lexical innovation or hapax. These findings are of interest to foreign language acquisition research, curricula design and idiolect re-encoding because they suggest that thematic-bound unities of thought elicited in word production are stable and comprise a major portion of all verbal content. These results may call into question the pertinence and efficacy of traditional syllabi focusing on linguistic points rather than on the role of recycling thematic-dependent learners’ verbal repertoire.

Keywords: Hapax; idiolect; lexical recycling; lexical innovation; recursion; lexical access


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About the article

Received: 2014-06-30

Accepted: 2014-10-31

Published Online: 2014-12-30

Citation Information: Open Linguistics, Volume 1, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-9969, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/opli-2014-0008.

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© 2015 Camilo Andres Bonilla Carvajal. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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