'Verstehen' ('understand') primes 'stehen' ('stand') : Morphological structure overrides semantic compositionality in the lexical representation of German complex verbs

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2014
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Preller, Katrin H.
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Journal of Memory and Language. 2014, 72, pp. 16-36. ISSN 0749-596X. eISSN 1096-0821. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.jml.2013.12.002
Zusammenfassung

The lexical representation of words in Indo-European languages is generally assumed to be driven by meaning compositionality. This study examined the lexical representation of complex verbs in German, which is a morphologically rich representative of Indo-European languages. Three overt priming experiments manipulated prime–target relations between morphological, semantic, and form relatedness. Base verbs (e.g., binden, ‘bind’) were pre- ceded by derivations that were semantically related (zubinden, ‘tie’) or semantically unre- lated (entbinden, ‘deliver’), by purely semantically related (zuschnüren, ‘tie’), form-related (abbilden, ‘depict’), or unrelated (abholzen, ‘deforest’) verbs. To ensure that the procedures were sensitive to semantic and form processing, semantic associates (Messer–Gabel, ‘knife– fork’) and form controls (Bordell–Bord, ‘brothel–board’; beschreiben–reiben, ‘describe–rub’) were added in Experiment 3. To examine whether lexical representation is affected by modality, prime presentation was further varied between visual (Exp. 1 and 3) and audi- tory (Exp. 2).
Semantic facilitation (Exp. 3) and form inhibition (Exp. 2 and 3) were not reliable across experiments, while morphological facilitation was strong and unaffected by semantic relatedness in all three experiments. That is, the priming from semantically opaque deriva- tions was equivalent to that from transparent derivations. These findings indicate that the lexical representation of complex verbs refers to the base regardless of meaning compos- itionality. Lexical representations in German thus differ from those in other Indo-European languages. This new evidence points to the necessity to encompass cross-linguistic varia- tions in the modeling of lexical representation.

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400 Sprachwissenschaft, Linguistik
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Morphological priming, Semantic priming, Lexical representation, Semantic transparency, Cross-modal priming, Complex verbs
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ISO 690SMOLKA, Eva, Katrin H. PRELLER, Carsten EULITZ, 2014. 'Verstehen' ('understand') primes 'stehen' ('stand') : Morphological structure overrides semantic compositionality in the lexical representation of German complex verbs. In: Journal of Memory and Language. 2014, 72, pp. 16-36. ISSN 0749-596X. eISSN 1096-0821. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.jml.2013.12.002
BibTex
@article{Smolka2014Verst-26655,
  year={2014},
  doi={10.1016/j.jml.2013.12.002},
  title={'Verstehen' ('understand') primes 'stehen' ('stand') : Morphological structure overrides semantic compositionality in the lexical representation of German complex verbs},
  volume={72},
  issn={0749-596X},
  journal={Journal of Memory and Language},
  pages={16--36},
  author={Smolka, Eva and Preller, Katrin H. and Eulitz, Carsten}
}
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