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The processing of English regular inflections: Phonological cues to morphological structure.

Post B, Marslen-Wilson WD, Randall B, Tyler LK - Cognition (2008)

Bottom Line: The results show that any stimulus that can be interpreted as ending in a regular inflection, whether it is a real inflection (filled-fill), a pseudo-inflection (mild-mile) or a phonologically matched nonword (nilled-nill), is responded to more slowly than an unambiguously monomorphemic stimulus pair (e.g., belt-bell).This morpho-phonological effect was independent of phonological effects of voicing and syllabicity.The findings are interpreted as evidence for a basic morpho-phonological parsing process that applies to all items with the criterial phonological properties.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. bmbp@cam.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
Previous studies suggest that different neural and functional mechanisms are involved in the analysis of irregular (caught) and regular (filled) past tense forms in English. In particular, the comprehension and production of regular forms is argued to require processes of morpho-phonological assembly and disassembly, analysing these forms into a stem plus an inflectional affix (e.g., {fill}+{-ed}), as opposed to irregular forms, which do not have an overt stem+affix structure and must be analysed as full forms [Marslen-Wilson, W. D., & Tyler, L. K. (1997). Dissociating types of mental computation. Nature, 387, 592-594; Marslen-Wilson, W. D., & Tyler, L. K. (1998). Rules, representations, and the English past tense. Trends in Cognitive Science, 2, 428-435]. On this account, any incoming string that shows the critical diagnostic properties of an inflected form - a final coronal consonant (/t/, /d/, /s/, /z/) that agrees in voicing with the preceding segment as in filled, mild, or nilled - will automatically trigger an attempt at segmentation. We report an auditory speeded judgment experiment which explored the contribution of these critical morpho-phonological properties (labelled as the English inflectional rhyme pattern) to the processing of English regular inflections. The results show that any stimulus that can be interpreted as ending in a regular inflection, whether it is a real inflection (filled-fill), a pseudo-inflection (mild-mile) or a phonologically matched nonword (nilled-nill), is responded to more slowly than an unambiguously monomorphemic stimulus pair (e.g., belt-bell). This morpho-phonological effect was independent of phonological effects of voicing and syllabicity. The findings are interpreted as evidence for a basic morpho-phonological parsing process that applies to all items with the criterial phonological properties.

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Harmonic estimated marginal mean reaction times for the conditions testing coronality and the pattern of the rhyme (different items only).
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fig1: Harmonic estimated marginal mean reaction times for the conditions testing coronality and the pattern of the rhyme (different items only).

Mentions: For ease of visualisation, Fig. 1 shows the effect of the rhyme pattern in terms of the relevant experimental conditions. The mean reaction times in the figure have been corrected for the effect of the duration of the second word by calculating estimated marginal means in an analysis of variance with the fixed factor condition (14 levels) and the duration of the second word as a covariate [condition: F(13, 313) = 12.66, p < .001; duration word 2: F(1, 313) = 109.53, p < .001] (see Appendix B for same items).


The processing of English regular inflections: Phonological cues to morphological structure.

Post B, Marslen-Wilson WD, Randall B, Tyler LK - Cognition (2008)

Harmonic estimated marginal mean reaction times for the conditions testing coronality and the pattern of the rhyme (different items only).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2596971&req=5

fig1: Harmonic estimated marginal mean reaction times for the conditions testing coronality and the pattern of the rhyme (different items only).
Mentions: For ease of visualisation, Fig. 1 shows the effect of the rhyme pattern in terms of the relevant experimental conditions. The mean reaction times in the figure have been corrected for the effect of the duration of the second word by calculating estimated marginal means in an analysis of variance with the fixed factor condition (14 levels) and the duration of the second word as a covariate [condition: F(13, 313) = 12.66, p < .001; duration word 2: F(1, 313) = 109.53, p < .001] (see Appendix B for same items).

Bottom Line: The results show that any stimulus that can be interpreted as ending in a regular inflection, whether it is a real inflection (filled-fill), a pseudo-inflection (mild-mile) or a phonologically matched nonword (nilled-nill), is responded to more slowly than an unambiguously monomorphemic stimulus pair (e.g., belt-bell).This morpho-phonological effect was independent of phonological effects of voicing and syllabicity.The findings are interpreted as evidence for a basic morpho-phonological parsing process that applies to all items with the criterial phonological properties.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. bmbp@cam.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
Previous studies suggest that different neural and functional mechanisms are involved in the analysis of irregular (caught) and regular (filled) past tense forms in English. In particular, the comprehension and production of regular forms is argued to require processes of morpho-phonological assembly and disassembly, analysing these forms into a stem plus an inflectional affix (e.g., {fill}+{-ed}), as opposed to irregular forms, which do not have an overt stem+affix structure and must be analysed as full forms [Marslen-Wilson, W. D., & Tyler, L. K. (1997). Dissociating types of mental computation. Nature, 387, 592-594; Marslen-Wilson, W. D., & Tyler, L. K. (1998). Rules, representations, and the English past tense. Trends in Cognitive Science, 2, 428-435]. On this account, any incoming string that shows the critical diagnostic properties of an inflected form - a final coronal consonant (/t/, /d/, /s/, /z/) that agrees in voicing with the preceding segment as in filled, mild, or nilled - will automatically trigger an attempt at segmentation. We report an auditory speeded judgment experiment which explored the contribution of these critical morpho-phonological properties (labelled as the English inflectional rhyme pattern) to the processing of English regular inflections. The results show that any stimulus that can be interpreted as ending in a regular inflection, whether it is a real inflection (filled-fill), a pseudo-inflection (mild-mile) or a phonologically matched nonword (nilled-nill), is responded to more slowly than an unambiguously monomorphemic stimulus pair (e.g., belt-bell). This morpho-phonological effect was independent of phonological effects of voicing and syllabicity. The findings are interpreted as evidence for a basic morpho-phonological parsing process that applies to all items with the criterial phonological properties.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus