Edited by Maya Libben, Mira Goral and Gary Libben
[Bilingual Processing and Acquisition 6] 2017
► pp. 217–248
Morphological processing in old-age bilinguals
Language processing in older adults has been the subject of much recent research. While previous research on language processing in bilingual older adults has focused on vocabulary and lexical access, very little is known about potential effects of aging on grammar in bilinguals. The current study investigates morphologically complex words in old-age bilinguals using German past participle formation as a test case, for which grammar-based processes (-t suffixation) can be distinguished from memory-based properties (e.g., stem changes). We will discuss results from two experimental studies with young and old bilinguals as well as with young and old monolinguals relying on lexical priming and speeded production, to determine changes of morphological processing across the lifespan. Our findings indicate that lexically mediated priming effects, which require access of inflected word forms from memory, are affected by aging. The combinatorial aspects of morphological processing (viz. stem+affix decomposition), however, seem to be more stable.
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