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Academic Paper

Title: The Time Course of Lexical Access in Morphologically Complex Words
Paper URL:
Author: Thomas C. Gunter
Institution: Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
Author: Dirk Koester
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Universit├Ąt Bielefeld
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science; Morphology; Psycholinguistics
Abstract: Compounding, the concatenation of words (e.g. dishwasher), is an important mechanism across many languages. This study investigated whether access of initial compound constituents occurs immediately or, alternatively, whether it is delayed until the last constituent (i.e. the head). Electroencephalogram was measured as participants listened to German two-constituent compounds. Both the initial as well as the following head constituent could consist of either a word or nonword, resulting in four experimental conditions. Results showed a larger N400 for initial nonword constituents, suggesting that lexical access was attempted before the head. Thus, this study provides direct evidence that lexical access of transparent compound constituents in German occurs immediately, and is not delayed until the compound head is encountered.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed

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