Research into the Mental Lexicon Representation of Chinese English Learners Based on Spreading Activation Model

Huili WANG, Yan HOU


Nowadays, the main idea regarding the organization of the lexicon is that words are stored in an organized intertwined semantic network. However, relatively little is known about the actual process that takes place during the course of activation production. Therefore, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the problems in question, this study conducted word association test to 150 sophomores in Dalian University of Technology (DUT) and tried to show the internal relations of mental lexicon in data by calculating the word frequency between certain words through a computer program which is written based on the actual calculating steps. And the innovation of this study is to show the abstract lexicon relation in data and illustrate the mental lexicon representation in three-dimensional figures by Netdraw software. Through the study we find: (1) The responses with higher frequency in the first few positions may not ensure themselves high association strength to the stimuli. And the current research also proves that activation of mental lexicon is not a “one stop” process but a linear forward one. (2) The data of association strength obtained from this study may help us convert the abstract lexicon relation into concrete statistical facts and establish representation of the mental lexicon network model. At last, the mechanism of Spreading Activation Model is illustrated and the implications for future English teaching are provided. Key Words: Mental lexicon; Word association test; Mental lexicon representation; Association strength

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