Much Ado About Morphemes [chapter]

Hélène Giraudo
2018 Zenodo  
Most of the psycholinguists working on morphological processing nowadays admit that morphemes are represented in long-term memory and the predominant hypothesis of lex- ical access is morpheme-based as it supposes a systematic morphological decomposition mechanism taking place during the very early stages of word recognition. Consequently, morphemes would stand as access units for any item (i.e., word or nonword) that can be split into two morphemes. One major criticism of this prelexical
more » ... is prelexical hypothesis is that the mecha- nism can only be applied to regular and perfectly segmentable words and, more problematic, it reduces the role of morphology to surface/formal effects. Recently, Giraudo & Dal Maso (2016) discussed the issue of morphological processing through the notion of morphological salience – as defined as the relative role of the word and its parts – and its implications for theories and models of morphological processing. The issue of the relative prominence of the whole word and its morphological components has indeed been overshadowed by the fact that psycholinguistic research has progressively focused on purely formal and superfi- cial features of words, drawing researchers' attention away from what morphology really is: systematic mappings between form and meaning. While I do not deny that formal features can play a role in word processing, an account of the general mechanisms of lexical access also needs to consider the perceptual and functional salience of lexical and morphological items. Consequently, if the sensitivity to the morphological structure is recognized, I claim that it corresponds to secondary and derivative units of description/analysis. Focusing on salience from a mere formal point of view, I consider in the present contribution how a decompositional hypothesis could deal with some phonological endings whose graphemic transcriptions are various. To this end, a distributional study of the final sound [ [...]
doi:10.5281/zenodo.1407017 fatcat:ctcfi6aihzcxdognv2ztea4zge