Masked constituent priming of English compounds in native and non-native speakers

Jorge González Alonso, Silvia Baquero Castellanos, Oliver Müller.
Language, Cognition and Neuroscience

The present research explores the degree of morphological structure of compound words in the native and non-native lexicons, and provides additional data on the access to these representations. Native and non-native speakers (L1 Spanish) of English were tested using a lexical decision task with masked priming of the compound’s constituents in isolation, including two orthographic conditions to control for a potential orthographic locus of effects. Both groups displayed reliable priming effects, unmediated by semantics, for the morphological but not the orthographic conditions as compared to an unrelated baseline. Results contribute further evidence of morphological structure in the lexicon of native speakers, and suggest that lexicalrepresentation and access in a second language are qualitatively comparable at relatively advanced levels of proficiency.