Gradient Typicality and Indexical Associations in Morphology

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This dissertation focuses on the topic of pseudowords and how speakers pseudoword processing relates to that of real words. Three main lines of inquiry are pursued with respect to pseudowords and real words: mechanisms of gradient well-formedness, theories of morphological decomposition, and indexical associations for morphemes in complex words. It argues for an integrated model which considers real words and novel words using common mechanisms, and which takes into account both morphological structure and indexical information.', 'Chapter 3 expands on studies of pseudoword wordlikeness by collecting wordlikeness judgments for a large corpus of pseudowords which comprehensively sample the space of phonotactic probability for pseudowords that are both short and long. The positive effect of phonotactic likelihood is replicated over the whole domain of likely and unlikely forms, and the realistic limitations of simple neighborhood density measures are shown. Post-hoc analysis also suggests that participants perceived apparent morphology in the pseudowords, and gave such items higher wordlikeness ratings.', 'Chapter 4 demonstrates that participants also give gradient typicality judgments for real words, in contrast to the predictions of some traditional and current theories of well-formedness. In this new analysis of data from Bailey and Hahn (2001), significant variation is observed in the judgments of both real words and pseudowords, and this variation correlates with similar factors for both categories.', 'Chapter 5 follows upon the morphological findings in Chapter 2 by eliciting explicit morphological decompositions from participants for complex real words and apparently-complex pseudowords. While it is unclear in Chapter 2 whether participants are actually aware of morpheme strings per se in the pseudoword stimuli, it is shown in Chapter 4 that participant accuracy in decomposing real and pseudowords exceeds the baseline levels derived from chance or from morphologically-unaware phonotactic statistics.', 'With previous chapters establishing that wordlikeness judgments are influenced by different aspects of similarity within the lexicon (i.e., phonotactic probability, neighborhood density, morphology), Chapter 5 investigates indexical effects of morphology on complex pseudowords. Much of lexical innovation in English involves morphology, and Chapter 5 finds that the gendered experience people have with morphemes influences their associations for novel words containing those morphemes.', 'Chapter 6 summarizes the findings for real words and pseudowords, considers their relation to theories of lexical processing and morphological decomposition, discusses consequences for mechanisms of language change, and proposes steps for future research.

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  • 10/14/2019
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