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LINGUIST List 17.1432

Tue May 09 2006

Diss: Psycholing: Schirmeier: 'German Ver-verbs: Int...'

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        1.    Matthias Schirmeier, German Ver-verbs: Internal word structure and lexical processing

Message 1: German Ver-verbs: Internal word structure and lexical processing
Date: 09-May-2006
From: Matthias Schirmeier <mks_dehotmail.com>
Subject: German Ver-verbs: Internal word structure and lexical processing

Institution: University of Alberta
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2004

Author: Matthias K Schirmeier

Dissertation Title: German Ver-verbs: Internal word structure and lexical processing

Linguistic Field(s): Psycholinguistics

Subject Language(s): German, Standard (deu)

Dissertation Director:
Bruce L Derwing
Gary Libben

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation investigates the visual word recognition of German verbs
containing the inseparable prefix ver- (e.g., verbittern 'to embitter') in
an experimental setting, using data obtained from adult native speakers of
German. More specifically, it investigates the roles of morphology,
morpheme salience, stimulus effects, and task effects in the lexical
processing of these complex words. Although, on the surface, ver-verbs
appear to constitute a homogeneous group, a closer inspection reveals
subtle descriptive differences in their internal structure,namely, the
existence of putative adjectival, nominal, verbal, and (synchronically)
bound component forms such as those in verbittern 'to
embitter'(ver-Adjective), verkleiden 'to disguise' (ver-Noun), verstopfen
'to block' (ver-Verb), and vergeuden 'to waste' (ver-Bound), respectively.
The template [ver[ROOT](e)n] can serve to show the commonality of these
forms, which, from a descriptive point of view, differ only in their roots.
This, in turn,provides a controlled framework in which the effects of root
differences could be systematically explored. The results of a series of
priming tasks, lexical decision tasks, and meta-linguistic judgment tasks
suggest that morphology plays a role in the lexical processing of these
verbs. More specifically, differential effects across the four subsets
suggest the importance of morpheme salience. However, these two factors are
also influenced by the type of stimulus and task employed. Overall, this
suggests the existence of two kinds of internal structure for ver-verbs: a
hierarchical right-branching structure for items in the Verb and Bound
subsets, and a flat structure for items in the Adjective subset. Items in
the Noun subset are split between those two alternatives as a function of
base type.

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