Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 575–597 | Cite as

Morphological Decomposition in Japanese De-adjectival Nominals: Masked and Overt Priming Evidence

  • Robert Fiorentino
  • Yuka Naito-Billen
  • Utako Minai


Whether morpheme-based processing extends to relatively unproductive derived words remains a matter of debate. Although whole-word storage and access has been proposed for some derived words, such as Japanese de-adjectival nominals with the unproductive (-mi) suffix (e.g., Hagiwara et al. in Language 75:739–763, 1999), Clahsen and Ikemoto (Ment Lex 7:147–182, 2012) found masked priming from de-adjectival nominals with productive (-sa) and unproductive (-mi) suffixes to their adjectivally-inflected base morpheme. Using masked and unmasked priming, we examine whether adjectivally-inflected base morpheme primes facilitate the processing of Japanese de-adjectival nominal targets with a productive or unproductive affix, including an orthographic-overlap condition and semantic relatedness measure that Clahsen and Ikemoto (2012) did not include. Our results replicate and extend Clahsen and Ikemoto (2012), revealing significant, statistically-equivalent morphological priming effects for -sa and -mi affixed targets, independent of orthographic and semantic relatednesss, suggesting that the processing of derived words with the unproductive -mi affix makes recourse to morpheme-level representations.


Masked priming Morphology Productivity Japanese 



We would like to thank Takuya Goro, Yuki Hirose, and Manabu Arai for their assistance in facilitating our data collection in Japan.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Fiorentino
    • 1
  • Yuka Naito-Billen
    • 2
  • Utako Minai
    • 3
  1. 1.Neurolinguistics and Language Processing Laboratory, Department of LinguisticsUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.Center for East Asian StudiesUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  3. 3.Developmental Psycholinguistics Laboratory, Department of LinguisticsUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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