AffiliationUniv Arizona, Dept Linguist
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherJOHN BENJAMINS PUBLISHING CO
CitationGeary, J. A., & Ussishkin, A. (2018). Root-letter priming in Maltese visual word recognition. Mental Lexicon, 13(1), 1-25. DOI: 10.1075/ml.18001.gea
Rights© John Benjamins Publishing Company
Collection InformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
AbstractWe report on a visual masked priming experiment designed to explore the role of morphology in Maltese visual word recognition. In a lexical decision task, subjects were faster to judge Maltese words of Semitic origin that were primed by triconsonantal letter-strings corresponding to their root-morphemes. In contrast, they were no faster to judge Maltese words of non-Semitic origin that were primed by an equivalent, but non-morphemic, set of three consonant letters, suggesting that morphological overlap, rather than simple form overlap, drives this facilitatory effect. Maltese is unique among the Semitic languages for its orthography: Maltese alone uses the Latin alphabet and requires that all vowels are written, making such triconsonantal strings illegal non-words to which Maltese readers are never exposed, as opposed to other Semitic languages such as Hebrew in which triconsonantal strings often correspond to real words. Under a decomposition-based account of morphological processing, we interpret these results as suggesting that across reading experience Maltese readers have abstracted out and stored root-morphemes for Semitic-origin words lexically, such that these morphemic representations can be activated by exposure to root-letters in isolation and thus prime morphological derivatives.
VersionFinal accepted manuscript
SponsorsInstitute of Linguistics at the University of Malta