Accessing morphosyntactic information is preserved at old age, except for irregulars
The current study examined morphological priming in older individuals using two complex phenomena of German inflection. Study 1 examined inflected adjectives which encode multiple morphosyntactic features using regular affixes. Study 2 targeted inflected verb forms which also encode multiple features, but in this case using idiosyncratic stem variants. Study 1 revealed priming effects indicating efficient access of morphosyntactic features from inflected word forms with regular affixes. Study 2 showed that the same individuals were less efficient at accessing morphosyntactic features from marked stems. We argue that this contrast reflects age-related memory decline, which affects feature access from (lexically conditioned) stem variants more than feature access from lexically unconditioned regular forms.
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