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LINGUIST List 17.1580

Wed May 24 2006

Diss: Morphology: Manouilidou: 'On the Processing of Thematic Featu...'

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        1.    Christina Manouilidou, On the Processing of Thematic Features in Deverbal Nominals

Message 1: On the Processing of Thematic Features in Deverbal Nominals
Date: 23-May-2006
From: Christina Manouilidou <cmano074uottawa.ca>
Subject: On the Processing of Thematic Features in Deverbal Nominals

Institution: University of Ottawa
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Christina Manouilidou

Dissertation Title: On the Processing of Thematic Features in Deverbal Nominals

Linguistic Field(s): Morphology

Subject Language(s): Greek (ell)

Dissertation Director:
Eva Kehayia
Eta Schneiderman

Dissertation Abstract:

The primary motivation for the research reported in the present
dissertation was to investigate the status of thematic features (TFs) in
deverbal nominals (DNs) in Modern Greek. The investigation addressed two
independent issues with respect to TFs of DNs. The first was whether the
processing of TFs of DNs constitutes a necessary step in accessing their
mental representation. The second concerned the status of thematic
constraints in deverbal word formation. Three on-line lexical decision
tasks and one off-line grammaticality judgment task were carried out. The
stimuli for these tasks included deverbal nouns, deverbal adjectives and
pseudo-words violating thematic constraints. The findings showed that TFs
appear to increase processing load only for those DNs with an increased
eventive character (e.g. plysimo 'washing', kallymenos 'covered'), with a
decomposition access route possibly playing a facilitatory role. In
contrast, TFs do not appear to affect processing in the case of DNs with a
diminished 'verb-like' character (e.g. conqueror). Furthermore, lexical
access results for pseudo-words indicated that TFs impose constraints which
operate at a later stage of word formation compared to other constraints,
such as categorial specifications of the base. This strongly suggests that
TFs play a crucial role in the creation of new DNs, independently of the
type of nominal.

The findings of the present study have implications for both
psycholinguistics and theoretical linguistics. The psycholinguistic
implications relate to the stage-like nature of lexical access, the
existence of a general representational component called feature
representation, and the role of grammatical class in both lexical access
and the organization of the lexicon. The linguistic implications
principally inform theories of word formation postulating feature
percolation, as well as the role of various constraints operating during
derivation. The experimental results support the view that the creation of
a new word is subject to constraints specific to the morphological
operations involved in it, such as thematic constraints for DNs.
Furthermore, constraints seem to apply sequentially, with degrees of
violability even for those constraints which are considered to be strong.
More importantly, there appears to be a relationship between violability
and late application, with those constraints that apply at a later stage
being more violable.

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