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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 voiceless items in the conditions testing coronality and rhyme pattern (different items only).
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fig2: Harmonic estimated marginal mean reaction times for the voiceless items in the conditions testing coronality and rhyme pattern (different items only).

Mentions: Since voicing affected reaction times in the regression analysis (although only for different items), and, as mentioned in Section 2 above, the conditions were not matched for voicing, the question arises how this affects the morpho-phonological effect of the rhyme pattern. Fig. 2 shows the mean values for the same conditions when all voiced items have been excluded, estimated in an analysis of variance with the fixed factor condition (10 levels) and the duration of the second word as a covariate [condition: F(9, 147) = 12.42, p < .001; duration word 2: F(1, 147) = 46.36, p < .001]6 (see Appendix B).


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 voiceless items in the conditions testing coronality and rhyme pattern (different items only).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

fig2: Harmonic estimated marginal mean reaction times for the voiceless items in the conditions testing coronality and rhyme pattern (different items only).
Mentions: Since voicing affected reaction times in the regression analysis (although only for different items), and, as mentioned in Section 2 above, the conditions were not matched for voicing, the question arises how this affects the morpho-phonological effect of the rhyme pattern. Fig. 2 shows the mean values for the same conditions when all voiced items have been excluded, estimated in an analysis of variance with the fixed factor condition (10 levels) and the duration of the second word as a covariate [condition: F(9, 147) = 12.42, p < .001; duration word 2: F(1, 147) = 46.36, p < .001]6 (see Appendix B).

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