Morphemes in their place: Evidence for position-specific identification of suffixes

Abstract

Previous research strongly suggests that morphologically complex words are recognized in terms of their constituent morphemes. A question thus arises as to how the recognition system codes for morpheme position within words, given that it needs to distinguish morphological anagrams like overhang and hangover. The present study focused specifically on whether the recognition of suffixes occurs in a position-specific fashion. Experiments 1 and 2 revealed that morphologically complex nonwords (gasful ) are rejected more slowly than orthographic controls (gasfil ) but that the same interference effect is not present when the morphemic constituents are reversed ( fulgas vs. filgas). Experiment 3 went further in demonstrating that reversing the morphemes within words (e.g., nesskind) does not yield morpheme interference effects against orthographic controls (e.g., nusskind). These results strongly suggest that suffix identification is position specific, which imposes important constraints on the further development of models of morphological processing.

References

  1. Baayen, R. H., Dijkstra, T., & Schreuder, R. (1997). Singulars and plurals in Dutch: Evidence for a parallel dual-route model. Journal of Memory & Language, 37, 94–117. doi:10.1006/jmla.1997.2509

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bradley, D. (1980). Lexical representation of derivational relation. In M. Aronoff & M.-L. Kean (Eds.), Juncture: A collection of original papers (pp. 37–55). Saratoga, CA: Anma Libri.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Caramazza, A., Laudanna, A., & Romani, C. (1988). Lexical access and inflectional morphology. Cognition, 28, 297–332. doi:10.1016/ 0010-0277(88)90017-0

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Davis, C. J. (2006). Orthographic input coding: A review of behavioural data and current models. In S. Andrews (Ed.), From inkmarks to ideas: Current issues in lexical processing (pp. 180–206). Hove, U.K.: Psychology Press.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Davis, C. J., & Bowers, J. S. (2006). Contrasting five different theories of letter position coding: Evidence from orthographic similarity effects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 32, 535–557.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Drews, E., & Zwitserlood, P. (1995). Morphological and orthographic similarity in visual word recognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 21, 1098–1116. doi:10.1037/0096-1523.21.5.1098

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Feldman, L. B., Barac-Cikoja, D., & Kostić, A. (2002). Semantic aspects of morphological processing: Transparency effects in Serbian. Memory & Cognition, 30, 629–636.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Forster, K. I., & Forster, J. C. (2003). DMDX: A Windows display program with millisecond accuracy. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 35, 116–124.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Giraudo, H., & Grainger, J. (2001). Priming complex words: Evidence for supralexical representation of morphology. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 8, 127–131.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Grainger, J. (2008). Cracking the orthographic code: An introduction. Language & Cognitive Processes, 23, 1–35. doi:10.1080/ 01690960701578013

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Grainger, J., Colé, P., & Segui, J. (1991). Masked morphological priming in visual word recognition. Journal of Memory & Language, 30, 370–384. doi:10.1016/0749-596X(91)90042-I

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Grainger, J., & Whitney, C. (2004). Does the huamn mnid raed wrods as a wlohe? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8, 58–59. doi:10.1016/ j.tics.2003.11.006

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Kazanina, N., Dukova-Zheleva, G., Geber, D., Kharlamov, V., & Tonciulescu, K. (2008). Decomposition into multiple morphemes during lexical access: A masked priming study of Russian nouns. Language & Cognitive Processes, 23, 800–823. doi:10.1080/ 01690960701799635

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Longtin, C.-M., Segui, J., & Hallé, P. A. (2003). Morphological priming without morphological relationship. Language & Cognitive Processes, 18, 313–334. doi:10.1080/01690960244000036

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Marslen-Wilson, W. D., Bozic, M., & Randall, B. (2008). Early decomposition in visual word recognition: Dissociating morphology, form, and meaning. Language & Cognitive Processes, 23, 394–421. doi:10.1080/01690960701588004

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. New, B., Brysbaert, M., Segui, J., Ferrand, L., & Rastle, K. (2004). The processing of singular and plural nouns in French and English. Journal of Memory & Language, 51, 568–585. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2004.06.010

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Perea, M., & Lupker, S. J. (2003). Transposed-letter confusability effects in masked form priming. In S. Kinoshita & S. J. Lupker (Eds.), Masked priming: State of the art (pp. 97–120). Hove, U.K.: Psychology Press.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Rastle, K., Davis, M. H., Marslen-Wilson, W. D., & Tyler, L. K. (2000). Morphological and semantic effects in visual word recognition: A time-course study. Language & Cognitive Processes, 15, 507–537. doi:10.1080/01690960050119689

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Rastle, K., Davis, M. H., & New, B. (2004). The broth in my brother’s brothel: Morpho-orthographic segmentation in visual word recognition. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 11, 1090–1098.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Shoolman, N., & Andrews, S. (2003). Racehorses, reindeer, and sparrows: Using masked priming to investigate morphological influences on compound word identification. In S. Kinoshita & S. J. Lupker (Eds.), Masked priming: The state of the art (pp. 241–278). New York: Psychology Press.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Taft, M. (1985). The decoding of words in lexical access: A review of the morphographic approach. In D. Besner, T. G. Waller, & G. E. MacKinnon (Eds.), Reading research: Advances in theory and practice (pp. 83–126). New York: Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Taft, M. (1994). Interactive-activation as a framework for understanding morphological processing. Language & Cognitive Processes, 9, 271–294.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Taft, M., & Forster, K. I. (1975). Lexical storage and retrieval of prefixed words. Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior, 14, 638–647. doi:10.1016/S0022-5371(75)80051-X

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Taft, M., Zhu, X., & Peng, D. (1999). Positional specificity of radicals in Chinese character recognition. Journal of Memory & Language, 40, 498–519. doi:10.1006/jmla.1998.2625

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Ulrich, R., & Miller, J. (1994). Effects of truncation on reaction time analysis. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 123, 34–80. doi:10.1037/0096-3445.123.1.34

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Yarkoni, T., Balota, D., & Yap, M. (2008). Moving beyond Coltheart’s N: A new measure of orthographic similarity. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 15, 971–979. doi:10.3758/PBR.15.5.971

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Davide Crepaldi.

Additional information

The present work was carried out at the Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, where the first author was holding a postdoctoral fellowship granted by the Economic and Social Research Council, U.K. (PTA-026-27-1825).

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Crepaldi, D., Rastle, K. & Davis, C.J. Morphemes in their place: Evidence for position-specific identification of suffixes. Memory & Cognition 38, 312–321 (2010). https://doi.org/10.3758/MC.38.3.312

Download citation

Keywords

  • Lexical Decision
  • Visual Word Recognition
  • Lexical Representation
  • Complex Word
  • Filler Word