Syllable frequency effects in immediate but not delayed syllable naming in English

Karen Croot*, George Lalas, Britta Biedermann, Kathleen Rastle, Kelly Jones, Joana Cholin

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Syllable frequency effects in production tasks are interpreted as evidence that speakers retrieve precompiled articulatory programs for high frequency syllables from a mental syllabary. They have not been found reliably in English, nor isolated to the phonetic encoding processes during which the syllabary is thought to be accessed. In this experiment, 48 participants produced matched high- and novel/low-frequency syllables in a near-replication of Laganaro and Alario’s [(2006) On the locus of the syllable frequency effect in speech production. Journal of Memory and Language, 55(2), 198–196,] production conditions: immediate naming, naming following an unfilled delay, and naming after delay filled by concurrent articulation. Immediate naming was faster for high frequency syllables, demonstrating a robust syllable frequency effect in English. There was no high frequency advantage in either delayed naming condition, leaving open the question of whether syllable frequency effects arise during phonological or phonetic encoding.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1119–1132
    Number of pages14
    JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • syllable frequency
    • prepared naming
    • speech motor control
    • articulatory suppression
    • motor programme


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