Volume 15, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1871-1340
  • E-ISSN: 1871-1375
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We examine unintentional spelling errors on verb homophones in informal online chat conversations of Flemish adolescents. In experiments, these verb forms yielded an effect of homophone dominance, i.e., most errors occurred on the lower-frequency form (Sandra et al., 1999). Verb homophones are argued to require the conscious application of a spelling rule, which may cause a temporary overload of working memory resources and trigger automatic retrieval of the higher-frequency spelling from the mental lexicon. Unlike most previous research, we investigate homophone intrusions in a natural writing context. Thus, we test the ‘ecological validity’ of psycholinguistic experiments. Importantly, this study relates these psycholinguistic constructs to different social variables in social media writing to test a prediction that directly follows from Sandra et al.’s account. Whereas social factors likely affect the they should not affect the : the number of working memory failures occurs at another processing level than the homophone intrusions. Hence, the focus is on the interaction between homophone dominance and the social variables. The errors for two types of verb homophones reveal (a) an impact of all social variables, (b) an effect of homophone dominance, and (c) no interaction between this effect and the social factors.


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