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Open AccessArticle

On the Nature of the Word-Reduction Phenomenon: The Contribution of Bilingualism

Departamento Interfacultativo de Psicología Educativa y de la Educación, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain
Departament de Tecnologies de Informació I les Comunicacions, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats, 08010 Barcelona, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Deceased on December 10th 2018.
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 294;
Received: 28 September 2019 / Revised: 24 October 2019 / Accepted: 25 October 2019 / Published: 27 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive Neuroscience of Cross-Language Interaction in Bilinguals)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: word reduction; language switching; bilingualism; duration; intensity; pitch word reduction; language switching; bilingualism; duration; intensity; pitch
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Rodriguez-Cuadrado, S.; Baus, C.; Costa, A. On the Nature of the Word-Reduction Phenomenon: The Contribution of Bilingualism. Brain Sci. 2019, 9, 294.

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