Relative entropy effects on the processing of spoken Romanian verbs

Filip Nenadić*, Petar Milin, Benjamin V. Tucker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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A multitude of studies show the relevance of both inflectional paradigms (word form frequency distributions, i.e., inflectional entropy) and inflectional classes (whole class frequency distributions) for visual lexical processing. Their interplay has also been proven significant, measured as the difference between paradigm and class frequency distributions (relative entropy). Relative entropy effects have now been recorded in nouns, verbs, adjectives, and prepositional phrases. However, all of these studies used visual stimuli – either written words or picture-naming tasks. The goal of our study is to test whether the effects of relative entropy can also be captured in the auditory modality. Forty young native speakers of Romanian (60% female) living in Serbia as part of the Romanian ethnic minority participated in an auditory lexical decision task. Stimuli were 168 Romanian verbs from two inflectional classes. Verbs were presented in four forms: present and imperfect 1st person singular, present 3rd person plural, and imperfect 2nd person plural. The results show that relative entropy influences both response accuracy and response latency. We discuss alternative operationalizations of relative entropy and how they can help us test hypotheses about the structure of the mental lexicon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-48
Number of pages26
JournalMental Lexicon
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was in part supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Grant #435–2014–0678) and by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia (Grants #179033 and #179006).

Publisher Copyright:
© John Benjamins Publishing Company


  • Auditory lexical decision
  • Inflectional class
  • Inflectional paradigm
  • Relative entropy
  • Spoken word recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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