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Word meaning in word identification during reading: Co-occurrence-based semantic neighborhood density effects


Identifying individual words is an essential part of the reading process that should occur first so that understanding the structural relations between words and comprehending the sentence as a whole may take place. Therefore, lexical processing (or word identification) has received much attention in the literature, with many researchers exploring the effects of different aspects of word representation (orthographic, phonological, and semantic information of words) in word identification. While the influence of many orthographic and phonological factors in normal reading are well researched and understood (Rayner, 1998, 2009), the effect of semantic characteristics of a word in its identification has received relatively less attention. A complete account of lexical processing during normal reading requires understanding the role of word meaning in lexical processing. Currently, little is understood about whether and how the meaning of an individual word is extracted during early stages of word identification. This article primarily focuses on how word meaning contributes to the process of word identification.

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ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Badriya H. Al Farsi, English Language Department, Ibri College of Applied Sciences, Ibri, P.O. Box 14, Postal code: 516, Oman. E-mail:
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Applied Psycholinguistics
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