Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Major Professor

Stefan A. Frisch, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Maria R. Brea-Spahn, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kyna Betancourt, Ph.D.


lexicon, phonotactic probability, probability predictiveness, wordlikeness


This thesis suggests that the range of vocabulary in an individual’s lexicon has an influence on in their assessment of nonword wordlikeness. The study included thirteen Spanish-English bilinguals who participated in a language dominance questionnaire, standardized assessments of Spanish and English vocabulary knowledge, and Spanish and English wordlikeness judgment tasks. Resulting data demonstrated moderate correlations between vocabulary knowledge and performance on nonword wordlikeness judgement tasks in Spanish and English. Participants with larger lexicons appeared more tolerant of less probable nonwords, those with low phonotactic probability, while those with smaller lexicons were less accepting of nonwords with low phonotactic probability. The results suggest that an individual’s processing of low probability phonological constituents is influenced by the diversity and complexity of their linguistic knowledge and specifically, their vocabulary acquisition.