Morris Lab

Morphologial Productivity

Complex words may be recognized either as whole units retrieved from memory or via their constituents, and affix productivity, as reflected in type frequency, may be one dimension along which this distinction is drawn.

In this masked priming study, we measured ERP responses to stem targets preceded by complex primes with either high- or low-frequency affixes (e.g., “walker-walk” vs “cashier-cash”) and found that the magnitude of priming as measured by response times, as well as by the amplitude of the N250 component—an index of compositionality—was not significantly greater for primes with high frequency affixes than for primes with low frequency affixes. In contrast, these measures were modulated by the relative frequencies of the base and whole word form, i.e., the “parsability” of the derived word. We interpret the findings within a hierarchically organized dual-route model of complex word recognition.

Related Manuscripts

Morris, Joanna. A. & Przewloka, Zuzanna. Morphological productivity and morphological parsing: An ERP study. Manuscript under review.