Orthographic and phonological neighborhood databases across multiple languages

Viorica Marian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The increased globalization of science and technology and the growing number of bilinguals and multilinguals in the world have made research with multiple languages a mainstay for scholars who study human function and especially those who focus on language, cognition, and the brain. Such research can benefit from large-scale databases and online resources that describe and measure lexical, phonological, orthographic, and semantic information. The present paper discusses currently-available resources and underscores the need for tools that enable measurements both within and across multiple languages. A general review of language databases is followed by a targeted introduction to databases of orthographic and phonological neighborhoods. A specific focus on CLEARPOND illustrates how databases can be used to assess and compare neighborhood information across languages, to develop research materials, and to provide insight into broad questions about language. As an example of how using large-scale databases can answer questions about language, a closer look at neighborhood effects on lexical access reveals that not only orthographic, but also phonological neighborhoods can influence visual lexical access both within and across languages. We conclude that capitalizing upon large-scale linguistic databases can advance, refine, and accelerate scientific discoveries about the human linguistic capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-26
Number of pages21
JournalWritten Language and Literacy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017


  • cross-linguistic
  • databases
  • language
  • neighborhood density
  • neighborhood frequency
  • orthographic neighborhoods
  • phonological neighborhoods
  • psycholinguistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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