Naming morphologically complex pseudowords: A headstart for the root?
Several studies examining Italian have shown that morphemes are effective processing units in reading aloud. Faster naming times and greater accuracy have been found in the reading of pseudowords consisting of real root + real suffix, than for matched pseudowords not made up of such morphemes. The results of this study suggest that the root is of primary importance in the reading aloud of Italian pseudowords. Faster naming times were found both for real root + real suffix pseudowords and for real root + non-suffix pseudowords than for pseudowords which did not include any morpheme. This held true for a stimulus list consisting mostly of words (Experiment 1), and for one consisting of pseudowords only (Experiment 2). Real root + non-suffix pseudowords were read as fast as pseudowords that were fully parsable into morphemes (root + suffix), suggesting that a headstart to a morphemic route can be provided by the root only. However, root + non-suffix pseudowords were pronounced less accurately than root + suffix combinations, indicating that the identification of a root before initiating pronunciation may conflict with the full elaboration of vocal output. Experiment 3 investigated the roles of root and suffix. An effect of suffix on naming latencies was observed, but it was not as strong as the root effect. Taken together, the results suggest that roots and suffixes are accessed and activated in a cascaded manner during the reading aloud of Italian.
Keywords: morpheme-based reading aloud, pseudowords, Italian, root, suffix
Published online: 30 August 2006
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