Homophones In Language Production

Where did Cinderella lose her slipper?

At the dance or the soccer field: Homophones in language production
Windsor J. Page
Midwestern University
Mary A. Weaver
Midwestern University



Where did Cinderella lose her slipper?

At the dance or the soccer field: Homophones in language production

One of the major problems that language users must deal with is the resolution of ambiguities. Consider the following examples:

(a) Be alert! Your country needs lerts!
(b) The cop saw the spy with the binoculars.
(c) The man was not surprised when he inspected the bill.

In (a) the pun arises from the fundamental ambiguity that exists in the sounds of language. In spoken ...

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to explore the nature of lexical ambiguity (as in the third example), focusing primarily on the production processes.

Figure 1 presents a simplified model of the mental lexicon. The different levels of nodes represent different aspects of the words (sounds at the bottom, grammatical properties in the middle, and meanings in the cloud bubbles). During language comprehension and production, information flows up and down this network of nodes. Note that the model assumes that a homophone like "bill" has separate grammatical nodes, but share a single sound node.

The problem of lexical ambiguity has been widely studied in language comprehension (e.g. Swinney, 1979). One of the major questions of interest has focused on the role of context in ambiguity resolution. In general, the evidence suggests that when an ambiguous word (e.g., a homophone like "bill") is encountered all of its meanings (e.g., list of costs, duck beak, draft of proposed law, a short name for William) are ...

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lexical instantiation of the two meanings are phonologically identical should be irrelevant.

A current debate in language production research focuses on how information flows through the nodes. In the top-down modular approach (Levelt, 1989), activation flow is one-way, from the meaning level down to the sound level. A model that assumes this approach predicts that the alternative inappropriate meanings of a homophone (e.g., money when the duck meaning of bill is intended) should not receive any activation during the course of production. Alternatively, interactive theories propose that (e.g. Dell, 1986, 1990) information flow through the network is bidirectional (i.e., activation ...

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Added: 11/8/2017 05:06:03 PM
Submitted By: megan1718
Category: Miscellaneous
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