Previous studies showed that a new word that is similar to
Previous studies showed that a new word that is similar to many known words will be learned better than a new word that is similar to few known words (Storkel et al. words. The results of these experiments show that new words influence the recognition of previously known words. In addition to newly learned words influencing the processing of previously known words work by Storkel et al. (2006) suggests that characteristics of known words can influence how easily a new word is learned. Storkel et al. had adults learn novel words that were either similar to few known words (i.e. the new words had a sparse phonological neighborhood) or to many known words (i.e. the new words had a dense phonological neighborhood). At the end of training Storkel et al. found that participants learned a higher proportion of novel nonwords that were similar to many known words (i.e. they had dense phonological neighborhoods) than novel nonwords that were similar to few known words (i.e. they had sparse phonological neighborhoods). Whereas Gaskell and Dumay (2003) CCNG2 found that newly XL647 learned words influence how known words are processed Storkel et al. (2006) found that the number of known words that resemble a new word influences the acquisition of a new word. In the work of Gaskell and Dumay (2003) Storkel et al. (2006; Vitevitch & Storkel 2013 and many others there is an assumption-at least implicitly-that the phonological representations that are known and acquired are abstract stripped of indexical information and other types of acoustic-phonetic variability. However there is an increasing amount of evidence that suggests the lexicon may contain not only abstract word-forms but also exemplar representations of words (e.g. Goldinger 1998 Johnson 1997 McLennan & Luce 2005 Vitevitch & Donoso 2011 XL647 Vitevitch et al. 2013 (The idea of acoustic-phonetic exemplars in the lexicon should not be confused with the idea of experiencing multiple and variable examples of an object with the same name as examined in Perry et al. 2010 If such exemplar representations of words exist in the lexicon how do these exemplars influence the process of learning a new word? From the exemplar perspective a word that occurs often in the language will have many exemplars of that word stored XL647 in the lexicon whereas a word that occurs less often in the language will have fewer exemplars of that word stored in the lexicon. With that in mind consider the word-learning model proposed by Storkel et al. (2006) to account for the influence XL647 on acquisition of the number of known words that are neighbors with a novel word. If the number of exemplar representations of a known-word influences word-learning in the same way that the number of abstract representations of known phonological neighbors influences word-learning then a high frequency word-which has more exemplars to resonant with than a low frequency word-would have an advantage in “attracting” a novel neighbor to the lexicon. To test this prediction about the number of exemplars of a known-word (as a function of word frequency) influencing the acquisition of a phonological neighbor of that known word we identified words in the lexicon that had no phonological neighbors-so called lexical hermits (Vitevitch 2008 which varied in their frequency of occurrence in the language. We then created novel words that were phonological neighbors of these high and low frequency known words. For example participants were asked to learn the novel word /depaim/ which is a phonological neighbor of the low frequency hermit = 433.69 occurrences per million; = 242.04) and the remaining five hermit words are used rarely in the language (= 17.75 occurrences per million; =16.42; (8) = 3.83 < .01). There was no difference in the Age-of-Acquisition (AoA; Kuperman Stadthagen-Gonzalez & Brysbaert 2012 of the frequent words (= 4.31 rated AoA; =.77) and the infrequent words (= 4.64 rated AoA; =.79; (8) = .67 = .52). There was no difference in phonotactic probability of the frequent words and the infrequent words either. The mean for the frequent hermits = .2205 (= .06) and for the infrequent hermits = .2044 (= .03) (8) = .52 = .61. The mean sfor the frequent hermits = .0105 (= .005) and for the infrequent hermits = .0112 (= .006); (8) = .19 = .85; Vitevitch & Luce 2004 Finally there was no difference in the phonotactic probability of the novel words that were neighbors of the hermits. The novel neighbor of the frequent hermits had a mean = .1973 (= .04) and the novel neighbor of the infrequent hermits XL647 had a mean.