Department of Linguistics
Morphological and semantic processing of semantically opaque prefixed verbs in Dutch
A major research theme in psycholinguistics concerns the representation of morphological structure in the mental lexicon. A confound in examining specifically morphological relations is the natural meaning relation between morphological relatives. Therefore, in this talk, I examine morphologically complex words that are semantically opaque, and specifically, the processing of opaque prefixed verbs in Dutch. Key conditions in a series of intra-modal auditory priming experiments involve semantically transparent prefixed verbs (e.g., aan-wijzen ‘point to/out’, with the stem wijzen ‘point’) and semantically opaque verbs (e.g., be-wijzen ‘prove’, with the same stem). I also present the results from new work that aims to further understand how the semantic information carried by morphemes is used during auditory word processing. I examine whether the morphological stem in semantically opaque words is only accessed, or whether its meaning is processed at a deeper semantic level. The experiments are designed to test, for instance, if bewijzen ‘prove’ activates the semantic representation of the embedded morpheme wijzen ‘point’, and hence, primes the semantic associate vinger ‘finger’.