When we encounter linguistic input, both spoken and written, we need to identify words and multiword sequences (e.g., “spill the beans” meaning “to reveal a secret”), ascertain their meaning, and integrate them into our unfolding understanding of a sentence and/or larger discourse. Recognizing single words and multiword sequences is a fundamental element of language comprehension in both a first and second language and involves a complex set of processes that are influenced by a range of variables. Frequency, or how often language users encounter a word or sequence, plays a central role in their entrenchment in memory and processing. Computational models have been developed to better understand and explain word recognition and the role of frequency in it. This chapter will explore effects of frequency on single and multiword processing as well as how frequency is accounted for in Multilink, a bilingual interactive activation model.
Conklin, K., & Thul, R. (2022). Word and Multiword Processing. In A. Godfroid, & H. Hopp (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition and Psycholinguistics (203-215). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003018872-20