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LINGUIST List 20.3284

Tue Sep 29 2009

Diss: Morphology/Psycholing: Widmann: 'Morphological Segmentation...'

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        1.    Cintia Widmann, Morphological Segmentation During Silent Reading

Message 1: Morphological Segmentation During Silent Reading
Date: 27-Sep-2009
From: Cintia Widmann <widmannmailbox.sc.edu>
Subject: Morphological Segmentation During Silent Reading
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Institution: University of South Carolina
Program: Program in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Cintia S Widmann

Dissertation Title: Morphological Segmentation During Silent Reading

Linguistic Field(s): Morphology

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Anne Louise Bezuidenhout
Paul Malovrh
Barbara Schulz
Robin K Morris

Dissertation Abstract:

This study tested two hypotheses about the properties of morphological
segmentation: (a) that it applies on phonemic representations, and (b) that
it outputs affixal information that is taken up and used at
representational levels higher than the lexical one. Participants'
eye-movements were monitored while they silently read sentences where the
monomorphemic members (guest; bale) of monomorphemic-polymorphemic (MP)
pairs of heterographic homophones (guest-guessed) and of
monomorphemic-monomorphemic (MM) pairs of heterographic homophones
(bale-bail) were embedded. The results of the first experiment provided
evidence that morphological segmentation applies on phonemic
representations in the absence of orthographic cues, as the MP homophones
(guest) induced a processing cost in First Fixation in the subset of the
data where they were preceded by an adjective-dominant modifier. A cost
emerged clearly in First Fixation and Gaze Duration in Experiment 2, as
well, where the homophones were preceded by balanced noun-adjective
modifiers, and sentence context was tightly controlled. The cost in the MP
condition in Quasi-First Pass Time and Total Time in the adjective-dominant
modifier subset of the data in Experiment 1 suggested that the information
activated via morphological segmentation remains active and is used at
levels of representation higher than the lexical one. Experiment 2 tested
this hypothesis directly. Longer rereading times were found for the MP
homophones again. In addition, readers regressed, from later regions of
text, less often to the adverb placed between the homophone/control and the
matrix clause verb, in the MP condition. This was interpreted as indicating
ease of integration of the adverb with the verb phrase it modifies, via the
affix information made available by morphological segmentation.

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