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Lecture | LUCL Colloquium - Spring 2018

Understanding and producing morphologically complex words: theoretical perspectives, controversial issues and experimental evidence

  • Pienie Zwitserlood (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster)
Friday 23 February 2018
Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 2
2311 BZ Leiden

Tea and coffee from 3.30 pm; talk at 4.15, followed by drinks in the LUCL common room.


Psycholinguists have investigated how morphologically complex words are represented in lexical memory and processed during listening, reading and speaking for many decades. Processing theories have emerged that range from full storage of words, independent of morphological complexity, to full parsing into constituent morphemes during reading and listening and assembly from constituents during speaking. Even after some 40 years of research and thousands of studies on morphological processing, there still are quite a few controversial issues. Examples are differences between languages or between types of word formation, the role of frequency of a combination, and the phonological and semantic transparency of its constituents, which all may affect how complex words are stored and used.

After a brief overview of models and core results, I present data on the role of semantic transparency for the processing and representation of morphologically complex words, mainly drawing on data from Dutch and German. I will make an argument for a flexible model of lexical representation that stores morphemes and, in some cases, complex forms.

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