Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Phonological similarity influences word learning in adults learning Spanish as a foreign language
Author: Melissa K. Stamer
Institution: University of Kansas
Author: Michael S. Vitevitch
Institution: University of Kansas
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Neighborhood density – the number of words that sound similar to a given word (Luce & Pisoni, 1998) – influences word learning in native English-speaking children and adults (Storkel, 2004; Storkel, Armbruster & Hogan, 2006): novel words with many similar sounding English words (i.e., dense neighborhood) are learned more quickly than novel words with few similar sounding English words (i.e., sparse neighborhood). The present study examined how neighborhood density influences word learning in native English-speaking adults learning Spanish as a foreign language. Students in their third semester of Spanish-language classes learned advanced Spanish words that sounded similar to many known Spanish words (i.e., dense neighborhood) or sounded similar to few known Spanish words (i.e., sparse neighborhood). In three word-learning tasks, performance was better for Spanish words with dense rather than sparse neighborhoods. These results suggest that a similar mechanism may be used to learn new words in a native and a foreign language.


This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 15, Issue 3.

Return to TOC.

Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page