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Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 48, Issue 6, pp 1407–1428 | Cite as

Morphological De-com-pos-it-ion Helps Recognize Low-er Frequency Words in Typically Developing Spanish-Speaking Children

  • María Josefina D’AlessioEmail author
  • Maximiliano A. Wilson
  • Virginia Jaichenco
Article
  • 69 Downloads

Abstract

Several studies in Spanish and other languages have shown that, in a lexical decision task, children are more likely to accept pseudowords with a known morphological structure as words as compared to non-morphological pseudowords. Morphology also facilitates visual word recognition of actual words in children with reading difficulties. In the present study, we explored the role of morphology, frequency and reading proficiency (measured by school grade) in visual word recognition. Typically developing readers of Spanish from 2nd, 4th and 6th grades performed a lexical decision task in which the morphological complexity and the frequency of the words were factorially manipulated. Our results showed that morphology benefited the accuracy of visual word recognition for low frequency words only. We conclude that decomposition in morphemes occurs in Spanish only for less frequent words. These results in Spanish support models that posit the decomposition of morphologically complex words in the orthographic lexicon.

Keywords

Morphological processing Lexical decision Spanish Literacy acquisition Word frequency 

Notes

Funding

This work was supported by funds granted to VJ by UBACyT (Grant Numbers 20020120100210 and 20020160100123BA), an Insight Development Grant awarded to MAW by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (CRSH) of Canada (Grant Number: 430-2015-00699), and PhD scholarships awarded to MJD by Universidad de Buenos Aires and CONICET, Argentina.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Lingüística, Facultad de Filosofía y LetrasUniversidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)Buenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Centre de recherche CERVO et Département de réadaptationUniversité LavalQuébecCanada

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