Title

Revisiting neighborhood density: Adult perception of phonological similarity

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-1-2016

Abstract

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.

Publication Name

Applied Psycholinguistics

Volume Number

37

First Page

627

Last Page

642

Issue Number

3

DOI

10.1017/S0142716415000181

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