2016-12-27Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01943
Semantically Transparent and Opaque Compounds in German Noun-Phrase Production: Evidence for Morphemes in Speaking
This study examines the lexical representation and processing of noun-noun compounds and their grammatical gender during speech production in German, a language that codes for grammatical gender (masculine, feminine, and neuter). Using a picture-word interference paradigm, participants produced determiner-compound noun phrases in response to pictures, while ignoring written distractor words. Compound targets were either semantically transparent (e.g., birdhouse) or opaque (e.g., hotdog), and their constituent nouns either had the same or a different gender (internal gender match). Effects of gender-congruent but otherwise unrelated distractor nouns, and of two morphologically related distractors corresponding to the first or second constituent were assessed relative to a completely unrelated, gender-incongruent distractor baseline. Both constituent distractors strongly facilitated compound naming, and these effects were independent of the targets' semantic transparency. This supports retrieval of constituent morphemes for semantically transparent and opaque compounds during speech production. Furthermore, gender congruency between compounds and distractors did not speed up naming in general, but interacted with gender match of the compounds' constituent nouns, and their semantic transparency. A significant gender-congruency effect was obtained with semantically transparent compounds, consisting of two constituent nouns of the same gender, only. In principle, this pattern is compatible with a multiple lemma representation account for semantically transparent, but not for opaque compounds. The data also fit with a more parsimonious, holistic representation for all compounds at the lemma level, when differences in co-activation patterns for semantically transparent and opaque compounds are considered.
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