Semantic transparency, compounding, and the nature of independent variables

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We report on a psycholinguistic study of semantic transparency among English compound words. We employed the P3 technique (Libben et al. 2012), which combines elements of three experimental paradigms: progressive demasking, naming, and word typing. Both the progressive demasking data and the word typing data showed a graded effect of semantic transparency associated with the number and location of semantically opaque constituents in the compound. Typing duration effects were evident at the constituent boundary, supporting observations first made by Sahel et al. (2008). We suggest that these data point to the value of letter typing durations in the analysis of morphological processing and the importance of a psychocentric perspective on lexical processing – one that emphasizes the psychological nature of morphological structures.


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