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Processing Advantages of Lexical Bundles: Evidence From Self-Paced Reading and Sentence Recall Tasks


  • This work was supported by a Major Collaborative Research Initiative Grant and a Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) as well as a grant from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). We wish to thank R. Harald Baayen for many helpful suggestions and comments as well as to thank several of the participants from the following meetings, where preliminary results of some of this work were discussed: The Symposium on Formulaic Language, held at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 18–21 April 2007; the Canadian Linguistic Association conference, held at the University of Saskatoon, 26–29 May 2007; the 6th International Conference on the Mental Lexicon, held in Banff, 7–10 October 2008; and the Canadian Linguistic Association conference, held at the University of British Columbia, 31 May–2 June 2008.

concerning this article should be addressed to Antoine Tremblay, Brain and Language Lab, Department of Neuroscience, Georgetown University, Box 571464, Washington, DC 20057-1464. Internet:


This article examines the extent to which lexical bundles (LBs; i.e., frequently recurring strings of words that often span traditional syntactic boundaries) are stored and processed holistically. Three self-paced reading experiments compared sentences containing LBs (e.g., in the middle of the) and matched control sentence fragments (e.g., in the front of the). LBs and sentences containing LBs were read faster than the control sentence fragments in all three experiments. Two follow-up word and sentence recall experiments demonstrated that more sentences containing LBs were correctly remembered. Consistent with construction-type models of language, these results suggest that regular multiword sequences leave memory traces in the brain.