A1 Journal article – refereed
Moving spaces: Spelling alternation in English noun-noun compounds

List of Authors: Victor Kuperman, Raymond Bertram
Publisher: Routledge
Publication year: 2013
Journal: Language and Cognitive Processes
Number in series: 7
Volume number: 28
Issue number: 7
ISSN: 0169-0965
eISSN: 1464-0732

The present study explores linguistic predictors and behavioural implications of the orthographic alternation between a spaced (bell tower), hyphenated (bell-tower), and concatenated (belltower) format observed in English compound words. On the basis of two English corpora, we model the evolution of spelling for compounds undergoing lexicalisation, as well as define the set of orthographic, distributional, and semantic properties of the compound's constituents that co-determine the preference for one of the available realisations. We explore iconicity and economy as competing motivations for both the diachronic change and synchronous preferences in spelling. Observed patterns of written production closely mirror the demands and strategies of recognition of compound words in reading. Orthographic choices that go against the reader's economy of effort come with a high recognition cost, as evidenced in inflated lexical decision and naming latencies to concatenated compounds that occur in other spelling formats.

Last updated on 2019-29-01 at 17:04