Words within words: Lexical statistics and lexical access

McQueen, J. M., & Cutler, A. (1992). Words within words: Lexical statistics and lexical access. In J. Ohala, T. Neary, & B. Derwing (Eds.), Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Spoken Language Processing: Vol. 1 (pp. 221-224). Alberta: University of Alberta.
This paper presents lexical statistics on the pattern of occurrence of words embedded in other words. We report the results of an analysis of 25000 words, varying in length from two to six syllables, extracted from a phonetically-coded English dictionary (The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English). Each syllable, and each string of syllables within each word was checked against the dictionary. Two analyses are presented: the first used a complete list of polysyllables, with look-up on the entire dictionary; the second used a sublist of content words, counting only embedded words which were themselves content words. The results have important implications for models of human speech recognition. The efficiency of these models depends, in different ways, on the number and location of words within words.
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