Friday, September 19, 2008

Semantic priming



I was reading about the Keki language (which is material for a future post) and I stummbled upon the term semantic priming. The clearest explanation I've been able to find so far is this one, in a reseach by Hutchison and Balota:


Human languages are thoroughly contextual in nature. This fact can be seen plainly by considering how the meaning of a sound, word, sentence, or passage can change drastically when taken out of context, or placed in a different context. The contextual nature of language has proven to be a major challenge for developing computer algorithms that can understand or produce language, yet humans process language in context so easily that we are usually not even aware of it. Linguistic and cognitive scientists have been studying how humans process context for decades, often with respect to individual words in the context of other words. For instance, it is well established that a person's ability to recognize a word like "dog" is enhanced when it appears shortly after a word like "cat" that is related in meaning. Results like these are referred to as "semantic priming",

Priming refers to activating parts of particular representations or associations in memory just before carrying out an action or task. The remembered item is remembered best in the form in which it was originally encountered (auditory, visual, etc.).

The hypotesis of lexical priming (found in Prof. Michael Hoey's book Lexical priming, Routledge, 2005) are:

  1. Every word is primed to occur with particular other words; these are its collocates.

  2. Every word is primed to occur with particular semantic sets; these are its semantic associations.

  3. Every word is primed to occur in association with particular pragmatic functions; these are its pragmatic associations.

  4. Every word is primed to occur in (or avoid) certain grammatical positions, and to occur in (or avoid) certain grammatical functions; these are its colligations.

  5. Co-hyponyms and synonyms differ with respect to their collocations, semantic associations and colligations.

  6. When a word is polysemous, the collocations, semantic associations and colligations of one sense of the word differ from those of its other senses.

  7. Every word is primed for use in one or more grammatical roles; these are its grammatical categories.

  8. Every word is primed to participate in, or avoid, particular types of cohesive relation in a discourse; these are its textual collocations.

  9. Every word is primed to occur in particular semantic relations in the discourse; these are its textual semantic associations.

  10. Every word is primed to occur in, or avoid, certain positions within the discourse; these are its textual colligations.

2 comments:

Michael said...

Lexical Priming -
hi, it would be only appropriate if you give the quote for the 10 Hypotheses - it is found in Prof. Michael Hoey's book LEXICAL PRIMING (Routledge, 2005). Find more info on
http://www.lexicalpriming.org/

If you can amend your page accordingly please! Thanks!

Nats snuskelusken said...

Sure thing!
Done!
Thanks :)