This study investigated the development of automatic word recognition processes, in particular the development of the morphological level of processing. We examined masked priming of Hebrew irregular forms at two levels of reading experience. Both third- and seventh-grade children showed morphological priming for defective roots when primes and targets conformed to the canonical morphological structure, containing all three letters of the roots, and also when the surface form of the primes and targets contained only two of the root letters. However, priming was not observed when primes and targets did not overlap in the surface form of the roots, i.e. the full three-letter root as prime and only two root letters in the target. These results suggest that both tri- and bi-consonantal representations of defective roots exist in the mental lexicon of young readers. The formation of interconnections between these allomorphic representations, however, requires more extensive reading experience.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 14, 2007
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