Investigating collocational priming in Turkish

Hakan Cangır, S. Nalan Büyükkantarcıoğlu, Philip Durrant


Several attempts have been made to illustrate the organization of the monolingual mental lexicon and each model proposed so far has highlighted different aspects of lexical processing. What they have in common is the fact that their depictions rely on single lexical items and paradigmatic relations come to the fore in their explanations. Hoey’s lexical priming theory (2005) tries to shed light on the issue of collocational processing in the internal lexicon from a cognitive and psycholinguistic perspective and its importance for our overall creative language production. A number of psycholinguistic studies have tested Hoey's theory as it relates to English, but work in other languages is limited. The present study broadens the scope of work in this area by investigating whether collocational priming also holds for speakers of Turkish. Furthermore, the possible influence of frequency and part of speech on collocational priming is scrutinized by exploring the correlations between response times in the priming experiment and these independent variables. The findings revealed a significant collocational priming effect for Turkish L1 users, in line with Hoey’s claims. The regression analysis indicated frequency and part of speech as important predictors of processing duration. The correlation analysis also showed significant correlations between the response times and both word and collocational frequency. A tentative mental lexicon framework is proposed based on the findings of this research.


Mental Lexicon, Collocations, Frequency, Lexical Priming

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