Nouns and Verbs

soud differently. The researchers graphed them.

The nouns were closer to other nouns, and the verbs were closer to other verbs. About 65 percent of all nouns have another noun as its nearest neighbor and about the same percentage of all verbs have another verb next door, Christiansen said.

Hearing sounds

To demonstrate that people were sensitive to this fact, the researchers timed volunteers while they read words of a sentence, appearing one at a time on a computer screen.

They measured how long it took to read each word. The researchers found that volunteers had an easier time processing verbs that sound more like the typical sounding verbs, such as “amuse.” The same went for nouns that were more “nouny,” like the word “marble.”

The volunteers used the relationship between how words sound and how they are used to guide their comprehension of sentences.

“This affects how you interpret a sentence, something that can help you in reading and practicing faster,” Christiansen said. This information can also be used in language acquisition.

It was interesting to hear.