On the Relevance of the Syntactic Flexibility of an Idiom for Its Recognition: Experimental Evidence from Polish

  1. Hanna Kędzierska ORCiD: 0000-0002-9847-1366
  2. Wojciech Witkowski ORCiD: 0000-0001-8873-9819
  3. Joanna Błaszczak ORCiD: 0000-0002-8332-2827
  4. Dorota Klimek-Jankowska ORCiD: 0000-0003-3102-1384
  5. Piotr Gulgowski ORCiD: 0000-0002-0807-6697


The article is a contribution to a long-standing discussion on how idioms are represented and accessed in the mental lexicon. More specifically, in a timed cloze response study we investigate high and low syntactic flexibility idioms in Polish in order to find out whether the degree of syntactic flexibility influences the ease and time of idioms’ recognition. By doing so we contribute to the question of whether idioms are differently represented in the lexicon depending on their syntactic flexibility, as suggested by Nunberg et al. (1994) and Gibbs and Nayak (1989), or whether all idioms independent of their syntactic flexibility are represented lexically in the same hybrid way, as suggested by Cutting and Bock (1997) and Sprenger et al. (2006). The results of our study support the latter view.

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