Formal variation does not affect morphological processing: evidence from Italian

Sabrina Piccinin, Serena Dal Maso, Hélène Giraudo


Psycholinguistic research on morphological processing has not always provided convergent evidence on the way allomorphic relationships are perceived during lexical access. In the present study we propose to further investigate this issue by focusing on Italian deverbal nominalizations in -tura and -zione and their relationship with two potential bases of derivations. Results from a masked priming study showed similar facilitation effects when riparato ‘repaired’ and riparare ‘to repair’ were presented as primes for the recognition of the target riparazione ‘repair’. Similarly, such effects also emerged when targets such as illusione ‘illusion’ were preceded by the transparent form illuso ‘deluded’ and the more opaque illudere ‘to delude’, indicating no significant difference between primes exhibiting non-predictable allomorphy and more transparent ones. Implications for lexical access are discussed and reasons to prefer a word-based semantically informed model are provided.


masked priming; morphological processing; allomorphy; Italian

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