Two experiments were conducted to compare morphological processing of skilled and less skilled Dutch readers. Prefixes and suffixes provide morphological information concerning meaning and/or function of the word stem. There is some empirical support for the hypothesis that these sublexical access units are functionally involved in the process of word recognition. The present study focuses on the role of prefixes as access units in visual word recognition. Adult skilled Dutch readers and elementary school children were presented a lexical decision task using polysyllabic word and nonword items. Prefix Frequency (high/low) and Prefix Quality (true/pseudo prefix ratio) were manipulated. Evidence for differential use of prefix information in adults and elementary school children was found. Characteristic difference patterns between skilled and less skilled readers are discussed. It is concluded that the information accessed by prefixes is semantically combined with the subsequent word stem (root). Characteristics of the prefix plus stem combination largely determine speed of access to the complex word item processed.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 7, 2004
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