Revisiting neighborhood density: Adult perception of phonological similarity
Phonological similarity (i.e., neighborhood density) has been operationalized in the literature as a single phonemic difference between words. However, few studies have assessed the validity of such a measure. In the present study, 50 typical adults were presented with 70 nonwords and asked to name a similar-sounding real word for each item. Results indicated that participants changed an average of one segment per word, although a fifth of productions involved changing more than one of the segments; substitutions were the most common change. Targets that received a wide variety of responses and that did not phonologically resemble many real words resulted in the greatest number of changes. Using a single-segmental metric to index phonological similarity has its limitations, and may inadequately incorporate other influential elements of a word such as the frequencies of its neighbors.
Freedman, Skott E.; Gennaro, Meredith; and Ditomaso, Amanda, "Revisiting neighborhood density: Adult perception of phonological similarity" (2016). Faculty Articles Indexed in Scopus. 761.