Summary: Acquiring an artificial lexicon: Segment type
and order information in early lexical entries
Sarah C. Creel *, Richard N. Aslin, Michael K. Tanenhaus
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Meliora Hall, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA
Received 20 December 2004; revision received 19 September 2005
Available online 28 November 2005
The role of segment similarity in early (i.e., partially learned) lexical entries was assessed using artificial lexicons in a
referential context. During a learning phase participants heard 40 nonsense words, each accompanied by an unfamiliar
picture. In testing, participants heard the direction ``Click on the [X]'', and chose which of four pictures was the target
(X). Target lexical items (e.g., pibo) appeared with foils that were similar: cohort items (pibu), rhymes (dibo), matched
consonants (pabu) or matched vowels (diko). Two initial experiments demonstrated cohort and rhyme confusions, sim-
ilar to lexical activation findings. Four further experiments explored the role of segment similarity in word confusions.
Consonant-matched CVCV stimuli were more strongly confused with each other than were vowel-matched CVCV stim-
uli. Placing consonants in syllable-final position (VC[f]VC) weakened consonant effects and strengthened vowel effects.
These results suggest that syllable-initial segments play a strong role in word similarity and constrain the organization
of new lexical items.
Ó 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Artificial lexicon; Lexical learning; Lexical acquisition; Consonant; Vowel; Word learning; Lexical activation
The research reported here addresses two issues