Organization of Words in the Mental Lexicon: A Psycholinguistic Study

  • Rizwana Jabeen
  • Khurram Shahzad
Keywords: collocation, coordination, mental lexicon, stimulus, vocabulary, word association test


This study investigated organization of words in the mental lexicon of grade 4 students. For this purpose, one hundred students of grade 4 were selected from the sample schools. This study employed a non-probability convenience sampling technique. The word association test was used to collect the data, which involved selecting 40 words from grade 4 English textbooks taught at three different private sector schools under three respective education systems. This study employed quantitative method to collect the responses of sample students in word association test. The data was analyzed by using Fitzpatrick’s (2007) model of classification of association response. The results showed that position-based association, which accounted for 56.95% of the total collected data dominated the distribution of the data; 17.95% of connections were meaning-based; whereas collocation associations were prevalent in position-based association test. The findings of the word association test showed that the participants’ mental lexicon was impacted by their comprehension and use of the target term. The research concluded that in the participants’ mental lexicon, position-based association was the strongest lexical network. The findings implied that teaching vocabulary and its meanings was insufficient for expanding English language learners’ mental lexicon. This study was helpful for English language teachers to teach English vocabulary based on a proper understanding of the organization of the mental lexicon of English language learners.

Author Biographies

Rizwana Jabeen

M.Phil. English Linguistics
National University of Modern Languages
Islamabad, Pakistan

Khurram Shahzad

Assistant Professor
Department of English
National University of Modern Languages
Islamabad, Pakistan