The Role of Morphology in Word Recognition of Hebrew as a Templatic Language
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Research on recognition of complex words has primarily focused on affixational complexity in concatenative languages. This dissertation investigates both templatic and affixational complexity in Hebrew, a templatic language, with particular focus on the role of the root and template morphemes in recognition. It also explores the role of morphology in word recognition across modality (visual vs. auditory). Finally, it investigates whether acquisition of visual word recognition processes in Hebrew by speakers of a concatenative (non-templatic) language is dependent upon age of acquisition or age of arrival. The findings for native speakers in this dissertation suggest that both templatic words and affixed words in Hebrew are decomposed into their constituent morphemes and for templatic words this decomposition is the default. In templatic words, the root and template play different roles in recognition. For nouns the role of the root is particularly important, as evidenced by sensitivity to letter position, while for verbs both roots and templates play key roles (Chapter 4). A phonemic restoration paradigm provides evidence of templatic morphology playing a key role in auditory word recognition. As with visual recognition of nouns, roots play an important role in auditory noun recognition as evidenced by words with root sounds masked being harder to recover than words with template sounds masked (Chapter 5). In Hebrew, as with conctatenative languages, inflectional words show evidence of decomposition into stem and affix with a larger amplitude N400 for inflectionally affixed templatic words than unaffixed ones. Furthermore, higher processing costs are revealed for concatenative borrowings into the language than templatic words, with greater amplitude peakers in the 200-300 ms time-window, suggesting that for templatic words decomposition is the default strategy (Chapter 6). Results of the L2 Hebrew study suggest that even proficient readers show transfer effects from a concatenative L1. Unlike native readers, they are letter position flexible for root letters in nouns with nouns with transposed letters priming, suggesting that a whole-stem representation of templatic words is available. These effects are not shown to correlate with either age of acquisition or arrival (Chapter 7).
- Linguistics