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Take a stand on understanding: electrophysiological evidence for stem access in German complex verbs.

Smolka E, Gondan M, Rösler F - Front Hum Neurosci (2015)

Bottom Line: Compared to the unrelated condition, which evoked an N400 effect with the largest amplitude at centro-parietal recording sites, the N400 was reduced in all other conditions.The control conditions with orthographic similarity confirmed that these morphological effects were not the result of a simple form overlap between primes and targets.Theories of the lexical representation of German words need to incorporate this aspect of language processing in German.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Linguistics, University of Konstanz Konstanz, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The lexical representation of complex words in Indo-European languages is generally assumed to depend on semantic compositionality. This study investigated whether semantically compositional and noncompositional derivations are accessed via their constituent units or as whole words. In an overt visual priming experiment (300 ms stimulus onset asynchrony, SOA), event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded for verbs (e.g., ziehen, "pull") that were preceded by purely semantically related verbs (e.g., zerren, "drag"), by morphologically related and semantically compositional verbs (e.g., zuziehen, "pull together"), by morphologically related and semantically noncompositional verbs (e.g., erziehen, "educate"), by orthographically similar verbs (e.g., zielen, "aim"), or by unrelated verbs (e.g., tarnen, "mask"). Compared to the unrelated condition, which evoked an N400 effect with the largest amplitude at centro-parietal recording sites, the N400 was reduced in all other conditions. The rank order of N400 amplitudes turned out as follows: morphologically related and semantically compositional ≈ morphologically related and semantically noncompositional < purely semantically related < orthographically similar < unrelated. Surprisingly, morphologically related primes produced similar N400 modulations-irrespective of their semantic compositionality. The control conditions with orthographic similarity confirmed that these morphological effects were not the result of a simple form overlap between primes and targets. Our findings suggest that the lexical representation of German complex verbs refers to their base form, regardless of meaning compositionality. Theories of the lexical representation of German words need to incorporate this aspect of language processing in German.

No MeSH data available.


Grand average ERPs of verb targets primed by unrelated (U), semantically related (S) verbs or morphologically and semantically transparent verbs (T).
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Figure 4: Grand average ERPs of verb targets primed by unrelated (U), semantically related (S) verbs or morphologically and semantically transparent verbs (T).

Mentions: Figure 2 shows the grand averages of semantically related (S, zerren-ziehen, “drag”-“pull”) and unrelated (U, tarnen-ziehen, “mask”-“pull”) prime-target pairs. The curves start to deviate from each other at about 300 ms after stimulus onset with unrelated targets being more negative than associated targets on the central and posterior electrodes. The maximum difference is reached around 400–600 ms, indicating the typical attenuation of the N400 component by semantic associations. The upper panel in Figure 6 provides the significant t- and permutation tests for this semantic effect.


Take a stand on understanding: electrophysiological evidence for stem access in German complex verbs.

Smolka E, Gondan M, Rösler F - Front Hum Neurosci (2015)

Grand average ERPs of verb targets primed by unrelated (U), semantically related (S) verbs or morphologically and semantically transparent verbs (T).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4341544&req=5

Figure 4: Grand average ERPs of verb targets primed by unrelated (U), semantically related (S) verbs or morphologically and semantically transparent verbs (T).
Mentions: Figure 2 shows the grand averages of semantically related (S, zerren-ziehen, “drag”-“pull”) and unrelated (U, tarnen-ziehen, “mask”-“pull”) prime-target pairs. The curves start to deviate from each other at about 300 ms after stimulus onset with unrelated targets being more negative than associated targets on the central and posterior electrodes. The maximum difference is reached around 400–600 ms, indicating the typical attenuation of the N400 component by semantic associations. The upper panel in Figure 6 provides the significant t- and permutation tests for this semantic effect.

Bottom Line: Compared to the unrelated condition, which evoked an N400 effect with the largest amplitude at centro-parietal recording sites, the N400 was reduced in all other conditions.The control conditions with orthographic similarity confirmed that these morphological effects were not the result of a simple form overlap between primes and targets.Theories of the lexical representation of German words need to incorporate this aspect of language processing in German.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Linguistics, University of Konstanz Konstanz, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The lexical representation of complex words in Indo-European languages is generally assumed to depend on semantic compositionality. This study investigated whether semantically compositional and noncompositional derivations are accessed via their constituent units or as whole words. In an overt visual priming experiment (300 ms stimulus onset asynchrony, SOA), event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded for verbs (e.g., ziehen, "pull") that were preceded by purely semantically related verbs (e.g., zerren, "drag"), by morphologically related and semantically compositional verbs (e.g., zuziehen, "pull together"), by morphologically related and semantically noncompositional verbs (e.g., erziehen, "educate"), by orthographically similar verbs (e.g., zielen, "aim"), or by unrelated verbs (e.g., tarnen, "mask"). Compared to the unrelated condition, which evoked an N400 effect with the largest amplitude at centro-parietal recording sites, the N400 was reduced in all other conditions. The rank order of N400 amplitudes turned out as follows: morphologically related and semantically compositional ≈ morphologically related and semantically noncompositional < purely semantically related < orthographically similar < unrelated. Surprisingly, morphologically related primes produced similar N400 modulations-irrespective of their semantic compositionality. The control conditions with orthographic similarity confirmed that these morphological effects were not the result of a simple form overlap between primes and targets. Our findings suggest that the lexical representation of German complex verbs refers to their base form, regardless of meaning compositionality. Theories of the lexical representation of German words need to incorporate this aspect of language processing in German.

No MeSH data available.