• Decomposability and the Effects of Morpheme Frequency in Lexical Access

      Ussishkin, Adam; Wray, Samantha; Ussishkin, Adam; Hammond, Michael; Farwaneh, Samira (The University of Arizona., 2016)
      This dissertation addresses an unanswered question in Arabic psycholinguistics. Arabic words are characterized by their nonconcatenative structure, in which a consonantal root that encodes the main semantic content is interleaved with a derivational pattern (called "binyan", pl. "binyanim"), which is typically vocalic but may also contain consonantal elements and contributes grammatical information. The canonical example of the Semitic root and binyan system is the combination of root /ktb/ which denotes the broad semantic sense of "writing" with verbal binyan /CaCaC/ (with Cindicating a root consonant) to form [katab] "he wrote" and with nominal place binyan/maCCaC/ to form [maktab] "office". Although significant work has been done on the psycholinguistic reality of Arabic morphemes by exploring various phonological, morphological and semantic features across numerous experimental modalities in both the visual and auditory domains (Boudelaa and Marslen-Wilson, 2004, 2005, 2011), no study has investigated the roles of base/morpheme frequency and surface/word frequency and their implications for underlying morphological structure in the lexicon of Arabic as has been done for English, Dutch, and Finnish (Baayen et al., 1997; Alegre and Gordon, 1999; New et al., 2004; Taft, 1979, 2004). Competing models of word recognition propose various integrations of morphology. Whole-word models suggest that there are no separate representations for morphemes, and that the co-activation of related words can be attributed to similarity in form and meaning (Norris and McQueen, 2008; Tyler et al., 1988). Decomposition models posit that words are recognized by accessing the words' constituent morphemes (Meunierand Segui, 1999; Taft et al., 1986; Wurm, 2000). Hybrid models incorporate multiple pathways to recognition. Words are either recognized holistically or by their constituent morphemes depending on multiple factors (Balling and Baayen, 2008; Taftand Nguyen-Hoan, 2010; Lopez-Villasenor, 2012). Of most relevance to the current study is the role of the productivity of the words' derivational affixes: words with unproductive affixes are processed holistically whereas words with productive affixes are processed as a function of their morphemes. This dissertation presents results from four auditory lexical decision experiments performed with native Jordanian speakers in Amman, Jordan, and provides evidence that binyan productivity determines whether the frequency of the base morpheme affects the speed of recognition. By manipulating root and word frequency for three binyanim, one more productive and two less productive, I provide evidence that verbs in the productive binyan are fully decomposable during lexical access and verbs in less productive binyanim are recognized holistically. For a more productive binyan, I examine Binyan I of the form /CaCaC/, and two less productive binyanim are Binyan VIII of the form /iCtaCaC/and Binyan X of the form /staCCaC/. These results together support a hybrid model of lexical access in which some words are recognized via decomposition into the morphemes they are composed of, and others are recognized by their whole word form. These results are consistent with those of Balling and Baayen (2008); Taft and Nguyen-Hoan (2010); Bertramet al. (2000), among others, as derivational affix productivity is the deciding factor determining whether a word will be recognized holistically or decomposed during lexical access.
    • The Maze Task: Using a Computerized Psycholinguistic Experimental Technique in Examining Methodologies for Second Language Learning

      Forster, Kenneth I.; Enkin, Elizabeth Bella; Nicol, Janet L.; Forster, Kenneth I.; Ariew, Robert A. (The University of Arizona., 2012)
      The maze task is a psycholinguistic tool that is used in experimentally measuring online sentence processing time (Forster et al., 2009). It asks subjects to "weave" their way through sentences, choosing the correct grammatical alternative from two choices. This task can also offer insight into the processing strategies of L2 learners. Thus, whether or not this task can be used as an effective training program for beginning L2 learners is the topic of this current investigation. The maze task is therefore transformed into the "story maze", which contextualizes sentences for learners. Because the task provides immediate feedback regarding the precise location of an error, learners can efficiently tune their L2 processing strategies, which echoes VanPatten (2004) and his objective with processing instruction. In effect, connections made in the classroom through explicit instruction can be reinforced and strengthened through implicit maze task training. Using L2 Spanish learners, the efficacy of training types is tested in order to investigate whether the maze task can assist learners in altering their processing strategies of complex, L2 structures that are not found in the L1. Furthermore, the task's generalizing capability with respect to building the implicit and explicit knowledge bases is examined. Lastly, because the task speaks to students' identity as learners in a technologically advanced world, the likability of this task is evaluated through qualitative data, and pedagogical implications are discussed.
    • Negotiating the Hierarchy of Languages in Ilocandia: The Social and Cognitive Implications of Massive Multilingualism in the Philippines

      Mendoza-Denton, Norma C.; Osborne, Dana; Roth-Gordon, Jennifer; Harley, Heidi; Silverstein, Brian; Mendoza-Denton, Norma C. (The University of Arizona., 2015)
      After nearly 400 years of colonial occupation by Spain, the Philippine Islands were signed over to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris along with other Spanish colonies, Guam and Puerto Rico. The American acquisition of the Philippine archipelago marked the beginning of rapid linguistic, social and political transformations that have been at the center of life in the Philippines for the last century, characterized by massive swings in national language policy, the structuration of the modern educational system, political reorganizations and increased involvement in the global economy. The rapid expansion of "education-for-all" during the American Period (1898-1946) set the foundation for the role of education in daily life and created a nation of multilinguals - contemporarily, most people speak, at the very least, functional English and Filipino (official and national languages, respectively) in conjunction with their L1 (mother tongue), of which there are an estimated 170 living varieties throughout the island array. This study focuses on the minority language of Ilocano, a branch of the Malayo-Polynesian (Austronesian) language family and is the third largest minority language spoken in the Philippines with over 9 million speakers spread throughout the islands, having a strong literary tradition and a clearly defined ethnolinguistic homeland in the northernmost region of the island of Luzon. The articles contained in this dissertation variously investigate the linguistic, social, and ideological implications of the last century of contact and colonization among speakers of Ilocano and seek to understand why (and how), in light of colonization, missionization, Americanization, and globalization, minority languages like Ilocano have remained robust. Taken together, these analyses shed light on the dynamic interplay between linguistic, social, and ideological processes as they shape contemporary language practices found among Ilocano speakers negotiating the terms of their local and national participation in a continually shifting social, political, and linguistic landscape.
    • Processing and Acquisition of Scrambled Sentences by Learners of Japanese as a Second Language

      Bever, Thomas G.; Shigenaga, Yasumasa; Forster, Kenneth; Nicol, Janet; Bever, Thomas G. (The University of Arizona., 2014)
      The Japanese language exhibits a free word-order phenomenon called scrambling. Because each noun phrase (NP) is case-marked with postpositional particles, it allows a freer word order than such languages as English. For simple transitive sentences, Subject-Object-Verb is the canonical word order while OSV is the scrambled word order. Previous studies with native speaker (NS) children have found that they go through a developmental stage during which they consistently misunderstand scrambled sentences, taking the first NP in OSV sentences to be the subject. It has also been found that NS adults experience slowdowns in reading and comprehending scrambled sentences. However, investigations into the processing of scrambled sentences by second language (L2) learners have been scarce, and it is not entirely clear how scrambled sentences are processed and acquired by L2 learners. This three-article dissertation aimed at investigating how simple transitive sentences with a scrambled word order (i.e., OSV) are processed and acquired by L2 learners whose native language is English. The first article (Chapter 2) examined L2 learners’ grammatical knowledge and production performance of the OSV sentences through two tasks (fill-in-the-blank and picture description). The results indicated a positive relationship between the learners’ general proficiency in Japanese and their knowledge/production performance of the OSV sentences, although there was a rather large individual difference even within proficiency groups. It was also found that the difficulty in producing OSV sentences was mostly due to a lack of grammatical knowledge, but the relationship of grammatical knowledge and production performance interacted with the types of sentences. For reversible sentences (in which both the subject and object NPs are animate), there was evidence that errors in the production of OSV sentences were caused by the overuse of the canonical template (i.e., SOV). For non-reversible sentences (in which the subject NP is animate and the object NP is inanimate), on the other hand, there was little evidence that a processing problem such as the overuse of the SOV template caused the production difficulty. The second article (Chapter 3) examined the comprehension processes of OSV sentences. While the results of a pilot study (sentence correctness decision task) indicated that both the L2 learners and NSs took longer to read and comprehend OSV sentences than SOV sentences, the results of a self-paced reading task suggested that the processing of OSV sentences by L2 learners might be quite different from that of NSs. The NS participants read more slowly at the second NP position when they read the OSV sentences. On the other hand, the L2 learners, regardless of their proficiency level, did not show such slowdowns. However, the data provided evidence that the advanced L2 learners integrated the case particles more consistently in their sentence comprehension than the learners with lower proficiency. The third article (Chapter 4) examined whether a psycholinguistic task (syntactic persistence with picture description) might facilitate the production of scrambled sentences among L2 learners, for the purpose of exploring the possibility of using such a method as an L2 instructional tool. While the main task (Task 4, which used regular SOV/OSV sentences as primes) was not very effective in eliciting the production of OSV sentences, the follow-up task (Task 6, which used questions in SOV/OSV orders as primes) observed a more positive effect of syntactic persistence. Based on the results, explicit instruction and practice on scrambling is suggested. Since processing of scrambled sentences requires that L2 learners be aware of the functions of case markers (and other postpositional particles) instead of relying on the canonical template, such explicit instruction and practice may also contribute to the acquisition of the particles that mark case.
    • A Role for Partial Awareness in the Modulation of Semantic Priming Effects

      Forster, Kenneth I.; Thomas, Joseph Denard; Forster, Kenneth I. (The University of Arizona., 2008)
      The present study sought to investigate the extent to which masked semantic priming is an automatic process and whether its effects vary depending upon the type of stimuli used. Recent studies have shown that there is a differential priming effect for prime-target pairs with different types of semantic relationships. Here, using a semantic categorization task with masked priming, we compared the effects of synonym, antonym,and associatively related non-exemplar prime-target pairs when presented at different stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs). Participants took a prime visibility posttest in conjunction with the categorization task which served as a measure of "partial awareness" of the prime. The results here indicate that differences in perceptual awareness may produce differential semantic priming patterns across the semantic relationships and SOAs considered. Potential mechanisms for this divergence are proposed.
    • Search Versus Competition: Factors Affecting the Prime Lexicality Effect

      Forster, Kenneth I.; Thomas, Joseph Denard; Nicol, Janet L.; Garrett, Merrill F.; Harley, Heidi; Forster, Kenneth I. (The University of Arizona., 2012)
      The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate the extent to which there is consistent evidence pertaining to the prime lexicality effect. Theoretical claims about the nature of this effect, in which masked nonword form primes produce greater facilitation than word form primes, have been hotly debated in the masked priming literature. Here, there are two major conflicting accounts of visual word recognition to consider. Cascaded activation approaches such as the Interactive Activation model rely on competition between word units to account for word recognition. This view predicts inhibitory effects for word form primes due to competition between word units for the prime and target. In contrast, proponents of the Search Model have maintained that elements in the process of verifying visual input suggest that word primes should produce neither facilitatory nor inhibitory effects during masked presentation. Evidence that is consistent with both approaches has been reported in the literature. A 1998 study by Forster and Veres looked at long words using a masked lexical decision task and demonstrated strong facilitation from nonword primes and no effect for word primes. A 2006 paper for Davis and Lupker, however, reported that the nonword prime facilitation that they observed using the same task was accompanied by strong word prime inhibition. The presence of this inhibitory effect seems to support the interactive activation account, but it remains unclear why inhibitory effects such as these were not seen in the Forster and Veres work. The present study sought to explore the reliability of the effects that are generated by word form primes. In particular, the different types of stimuli used in the conflicting papers (i.e. long versus short items) were contrasted. Evaluations regarding their relative discrimination difficulty and performance during masked lexical decision were conducted. The investigation revealed that there is indeed a difference between the output provided by those different stimulus types and that context effects emerge when they are presented together in the same experiment. The implications of these findings for the various views on visual word recognition are discussed.
    • Structure and Processing in Tunisian Arabic: Speech Error Data

      Forster, Kenneth; Hamrouni, Nadia; Forster, Kenneth; Garrett, Merrill F.; Ussishkin, Adam; Farwaneh, Samira; Forster, Kenneth; Garrett, Merrill F.; Ussishkin, Adam; Farwaneh, Samira (The University of Arizona., 2010)
      This dissertation presents experimental research on speech errors in Tunisian Arabic (TA). The central empirical questions revolve around properties of `exchange errors'. These errors can mis-order lexical, morphological, or sound elements in a variety of patterns. TA's nonconcatenative morphology shows interesting interactions of phrasal and lexical constraints with morphological structure during language production and affords different and revealing error potentials linking the production system with linguistic knowledge.The dissertation studies expand and test generalizations based on Abd-El-Jawad and Abu-Salim's (1987) study of spontaneous speech errors in Jordanian Arabic by experimentally examining apparent regularities in data from real-time language processing perspective. The studies address alternative accounts of error phenomena that have figured prominently in accounts of production processing. Three experiments were designed and conducted based on an error elicitation paradigm used by Ferreira and Humphreys (2001). Experiment 1 tested within-phrase exchange errors focused on root versus non-root exchanges and lexical versus non-lexical outcomes for root and non-root errors. Experiments 2 and 3 addressed between-phrase exchange errors focused on violations of the Grammatical Category Constraint (GCC).The study of exchange potentials for the within-phrase items (experiment 1) contrasted lexical and non-lexical outcomes. The expectation was that these would include a significant number of root exchanges and that the lexical status of the resulting forms would not preclude error. Results show that root and vocalic pattern exchanges were very rare and that word forms rather than root forms were the dominant influence in the experimental performance. On the other hand, the study of exchange errors across phrasal boundaries of items that do or do not correspond in grammatical category (experiments 2 and 3) pursued two principal questions, one concerning the error rate and the second concerning the error elements. The expectation was that the errors predominantly come from grammatical category matches. That outcome would reinforce the interpretation that processing operations reflect the assignment of syntactically labeled elements to their location in phrasal structures. Results corroborated with the expectation. However, exchange errors involving words of different grammatical categories were also frequent. This has implications for speech monitoring models and the automaticity of the GCC.