Bürki, A., Ernestus, M., & Frauenfelder, U. H. (2010). Is there only one "fenêtre" in the production lexicon? On-line evidence on the nature of phonological representations of pronunciation variants for French schwa words. Journal of Memory and Language,62, 421-437. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2010.01.002.
This study examines whether the production of words with two phonological variants involves single or multiple lexical phonological representations. Three production experiments investigated the roles of the relative frequencies of the two pronunciation variants of French words with schwa: the schwa variant (e.g., Image ) and the reduced variant (e.g., Image ). In two naming tasks and in a symbol–word association learning task, variants with higher relative frequencies were produced faster. This suggests that the production lexicon keeps a frequency count for each variant and hence that schwa words are represented in the production lexicon with two different lexemes. In addition, the advantage for schwa variants over reduced variants in the naming tasks but not in the learning task and the absence of a variant relative frequency effect for schwa variants produced in isolation support the hypothesis that context affects the variants’ lexical activation and modulates the effect of variant relative frequency.