Armstrong, B. C., Zugarramurdi, C., Alvaro, C., Valle Lisboa, J., & Plaut, D. C. (in press --- online).  Relative meaning frequencies for 578 homonyms in two Spanish dialects: A cross-linguistic extension of the English eDom norms.  Behavior Research Methods,  48(3), 950-962.


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Relative meaning frequency is a critical factor to consider in studies of semantic ambiguity.  This work examines how this measure may change across the European and Rioplatense dialects of Spanish, as well as how the overall distributional properties differ between Spanish and English, using a computer-assisted norming approach based on dictionary definitions (Armstrong, Tokowicz, & Plaut, 2012, BRM).  The results show that the two dialects differ considerably in terms of the relative meaning frequencies of their constituent homonyms and that the overall distributions of relative frequency vary considerably across languages, as well.  These results highlight the need for localized norms to design powerful studies of semantic ambiguity and suggest that dialectal differences may be responsible for some discrepant effects related to homonymy.  In quantifying the reliability of the norms, it was also established that as few as seven ratings are needed to converge on a highly stable set of ratings.  This approach is therefore a very practical means of acquiring essential data in studies of semantic ambiguity relative to past approaches, such as those based on the classification of free associates.  The norms also present new possibilities for studying semantic ambiguity effects within and between populations who speak one or more languages.  The norms and associated software are available for download at: or

Keywords: Semantic ambiguity, homonyms, cross-linguistic/dialect differences, rating dictionary definitions, norm reliability

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