Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Individual word and phrase frequency effects in...

Electronic data


Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Individual word and phrase frequency effects in collocational processing: Evidence from typologically different languages, English and Turkish

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>23/01/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date23/01/24
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Collocations are understood to be integral building blocks of language processing, alongside individual words, but thus far evidence for the psychological reality of collocations has tended to be confined to English. In contrast to English, Turkish is an agglutinating language, utilising productive morphology to convey complex meanings using a single word. Given this, we expected Turkish speakers to be less sensitive to phrasal frequencies than English speakers. In Study 1, we conducted a corpus analysis of translation-equivalent adjective-noun collocations (e.g. front door), and found differences between the two languages in frequency counts. In Study 2, we conducted a reaction time experiment to determine the sensitivity of native speakers of English and Turkish to the frequency of adjectives, nouns and whole collocations. Turkish speakers were less sensitive to whole-phrase frequencies, as predicted, indicating that collocations are processed less holistically in Turkish than English. Both groups demonstrated that processing collocations involves combining information about individual words and phrases. Taken together, we show that speakers are sensitive to frequency information at multiple grain sizes that are attuned to the typology of different languages.