Research exercise: Experimental linguistics

A very simple experiment is the word association task. On hearing a word, participants are asked to say (or write down) the first word that comes to their mind. Such tasks provide linguists with information on how language is stored in the human mind (mental lexicon).

Carry out a word association task with ten particpants of your own choice. Use the test items sun, thirsty and ball in the tables below. Enter each participant's responses (associations) in the tables. For each response, provide an analysis of the linguistic relation between the response and the corresponding test item (phonological similarity, semantic similarity (synonym, antonym, co-hyponym) etc.).

(adapted from: Field, John 2003. Psycholinguistics. A Resource Book for Students. Routledge.)


Test item = forest

Response (association) = trees/Linguistic relationship = semantic: meronymy

1. Sun:

(:vips 7910:)

2. Thirsty:

(:vips 7911:)

3. Ball:

(:vips 7912:)