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Beyond Orthography and Phonology: Differences between Inflections and Derivations

Journal of Memory and Language
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1006/jmla.1994.1021
  • Linguistics


Abstract The influence of morphological structure was investigated in two types of word recognition tasks with Serbian materials. Morphological structure included both inflectional and derivational formations and comparisons were controlled for word class and the orthographic and phonological similarity of forms. In Experiments 1, 2, and 3, the pattern of facilitation to target decision latencies was examined following morphologically-related primes in a repetition priming task. Although all morphologically related primes facilitated targets relative to an unprimed condition, inflectionally related primes produced significantly greater effects than did derivationally related primes. In Experiments 4, 5, and 6 subjects were required to segment and shift an underlined portion from one word onto a second word and to name the result aloud. The shifted letter sequence was sometimes morphemic (e.g., the equivalent of ER in DRUMMER) and sometimes not (e.g., the equivalent of ER in SUMMER). Morphemic letter sequences were segmented and shifted more rapidly than their nonmorphemic controls when they were inflectional affixes but not when they were derivational affixes. These results indicate that (a) morphological effects cannot be ascribed to orthographic and phonological structure, (b) the constituent morphemic structure of a word contributes to word recognition and (c) morphemic structure is more transparent for inflectional than for derivational formations.

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