Processing of English compounds is sensitive to the constituents’ semantic transparency
Compounds vary in terms of the extent to which the constituents’ meanings contribute to the meaning of the compound, and there is an ongoing debate about whether the semantic representations of the constituents of opaque compounds are available during compound processing. Three lexical decision experiments investigated whether semantically priming the first constituent of a compound influenced the processing of that compound. Experiment 1 found semantic priming for fully transparent (TT) compounds but not for OT compounds. Experiment 2 found semantic priming for TT compounds, but not for TO compounds. Experiment 3 found semantic priming for fully opaque (OO) compounds, but not for TO compounds. Our results suggest that semantic transparency is a property of processing, not of representation.
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