Word reduction refers to how predictable words are shortened in features such as duration, intensity, or pitch. However, its origin is still unclear: Are words reduced because it is the second time that conceptual representations are activated, or because words are articulated twice? If word reduction is conceptually driven, it would be irrelevant whether the same referent is mentioned twice but using different words. However, if is articulatory, using different words for the same referent could prevent word reduction. In the present work, we use bilingualism to explore the conceptual or articulatory origin of word reduction in language production. Word reduction was compared in two conditions: a non-switch condition, where the two mentions of a referent were uttered in the same language, and a switch condition, where the referent was said in both languages. Dyads of participants completed collaborative maps in which words were uttered twice in Catalan or in Spanish, either repeating or switching the language between mentions. Words were equally reduced in duration, intensity, and pitch in non-switch and in switch conditions. Furthermore, the cognate status of words did not play any role. These findings support the theory that word reduction is conceptually driven.
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