Saturday, November 19, 2011

English non-word, German word

This is a picture from a 2008 trip to Switzerland, where an ad meaninglessly (to me) stated: "bleib cool, mann". These were all over the place, which is amusing when you don't know exactly what is being advertised.

Since then, I have accepted the straightforward Internet translations of "stay cool, man" (or "man that stayed cool"?). Either way, one of my favorite IPhOD pseudowords ("BLEEB") is quite similar to a high frequency German word. Enligsh non-words in your experiments can appear as meaningful words elsewhere in the world (or German classes). This may be an unavoidable issue in using pseudowords in research, but there are things that an experimenter can do to identify items such as these. Get to know your participants, ask about language-background, and take careful notes. (e.g. How many of your English-speaking students that apparently had superior pseudoword recall were taking language classes?)