Rule and Idiosyncratically Derived Denominal Verbs: Effects on Language Production and Comprehension

Kelly, Michael H. (1998) Rule and Idiosyncratically Derived Denominal Verbs: Effects on Language Production and Comprehension. [Journal (Paginated)]

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A distinction is drawn between two classes of denominal verbs, and four experiments examine the effects of this distinction on the production and comprehension of denominalizations. "Rule derived" (RD) denominals are formed from nouns belonging to semantic categories whose members share the same meaning when used as verbs. For instance, denominal verbs formed from vehicles generally mean "To travel/convey by X" where X represents the specific vehicle. In contrast, "idiosyncratically derived" (ID) denominals are drawn from categories whose members possess diverse meanings when used as verbs. Thus, "to fish" means "to try to catch fish" whereas "to dog" means "to chase tirelessly." Because the verb meanings of rule derived items are relatively predictable, they might be more easily produced and understood. Experiments 1 and 2 show that speakers are more likely to select RD terms for denominalization, and are faster at creating denominal uses for RD terms. Experiments 3 and 4 show that RD denominals are rated easier to understand than ID denominals, and that they are interpreted more uniformly across readers. The Discussion considers pragmatic accounts of the results, the theoretical basis for the distinction between RD and ID terms, and the more general point that experimental methods can be used to study creative uses of language.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:denominal verbs, lexical innovation, pragmatics, language production, language comprehension, category structure, word formation, lexical rules, denominal verb convention, mutual knowledge, language creativity, semantics
Subjects:Psychology > Psycholinguistics
ID Code:699
Deposited By: Kelly, Michael H
Deposited On:22 Jun 1998
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54


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