Red Ball 4 Volume 5: A New Level of Action and Puzzle
The artificial language had seven lexical items. There were three Nouns meaning feather, ball, and mug, visually presented as orthographic , pronounced /éjè/, , pronounced /úhù/, and , pronounced /ítì/, respectively. The modifier meanings were two Adjectives (red and black), two Numerals (two and three), and two Demonstratives (proximal and distal). Labels for these modifier classes were created in pairs: pronounced /púkù/, pronounced /tàká/ and pronounced /hìmí/, pronounced /hónò/. We privileged within-pair similarity (so /púkù/ and /tàká/ both contain only voiceless stops for example) to facilitate the learning process. The two pairs of stimuli were assigned meanings according to the condition participants were in: in the Dem-Adj condition, the fricative-initial words were Demonstratives and the stop-initial words were Adjectives; in the Dem-Num condition, the fricative-initial words were Demonstratives and the stop-initial words were Numerals; in the Num-Adj condition the fricative-initial words were Numerals and the stop-initial words were Adjectives. Stimuli were produced by a trained phonetician. All stops were produced with near zero VOT and each syllable was produced with either a high or a low tone.5
Following this first production phase was another comprehension test. Participants saw two images and heard one Nápíjò phrase. They had to click on the image that corresponded to the phrase. There were a total of 24 such trials. Trials tested recall of either modifier or Noun labels. In trials that tested recall of Noun labels, one image was correct (e.g., a picture of a red ball) and the foil image displayed the correct modifier, but the incorrect Noun (e.g., a picture of a red feather). In trials that tested recall of modifier labels, one image was correct (e.g., a picture of a red ball) and the foil image displayed the correct Noun, but an incorrect modifier (e.g., a picture of a black ball) Noun and modifier trials were randomly intermixed.
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The final phase of the experiment was the critical two-modifier production phase which also consisted of 16 trials. Participants were presented with images that depicted a Noun combined with two modifiers (e.g., two red balls) and were asked to produce the Nápíjò phrase they thought corresponded to the image. No feedback was given during this production phase.
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