Anticipatory Mechanisms in Idiom Comprehension: Psycholinguistic and Electrophysiological Evidence

  • Paolo Canal
  • Francesco Vespignani
  • Nicola Molinaro
  • Cristina Cacciari


Idiomatic expressions are highly pervasive in everyday language: as Jackendoff [1] pointed out, in American English there are as many words as there are multi-word expressions (i.e., word strings listed in semantic memory, as proverbs, clichés, idioms, phrasal verbs, etc.), roughly around 80 000 [2]. If, indeed, multi-word expressions are so pervasive in everyday language, no theory of language can ignore them. In fact, during the last few decades a consistent body of research on the comprehension and production of idioms has accumulated in psycholinguistics [3, 4, 5] and, more recently, in the cognitive neurosciences (e.g., [6], Mado Proverbio, this volume).


Semantic Memory Literal Meaning Electrophysiological Evidence Idiomatic Expression Word String 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paolo Canal
    • 1
  • Francesco Vespignani
    • 2
  • Nicola Molinaro
    • 3
  • Cristina Cacciari
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical SciencesUniversity of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Cognitive and Education SciencesUniversity of TrentoRovereto (TN)Italy
  3. 3.Basque Center on Cognition Brain and LanguageDonostia-San SebastiánSpain

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