Testing the Stem Dominance Hypothesis: Meaning Analysis of Inflected Words and Prepositional Phrases

Minna Lehtonen, Gabor Harrer, Erling Wande, Matti Laine

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    We tested the hypothesis that lexical-semantic access of inflected words is governed by the word stem. Object drawings overlaid with a dot/arrow marking position/movement were matched with corresponding linguistic expressions like "from the house". To test whether the stem dominates lexical-semantic access irrespective of its position, we used Swedish prepositional phrases (locative information via preposition immediately preceding the stem) or Finnish case-inflected words (locative information via suffix immediately following the stem). Both in monolingual Swedish and in bilingual Finnish-Swedish speakers, correct stems with incorrect prepositions/case-endings were hardest to reject. This finding supports the view that the stem is indeed the dominant unit in meaning access of inflected words.
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    TidskriftPLoS ONE
    StatusPublicerad - 2014
    MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad

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