Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2542-3835
  • E-ISSN: 2542-3843
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Native English speakers do not show masked priming effects in lexical decision when a prime word is related to its target purely on the basis of orthographic form (e.g., ). There is strong evidence, however, that non-native English speakers do show such form priming. This paper explores the possible cognitive mechanisms behind this difference between native and non-native speakers. Taft and Li (2020) found that only non-native speakers (with Chinese as their first language) showed priming when the nonword prime ended in the same embedded word as the word target (e.g., ), but a newly reported experiment goes on to show priming for native speakers as well when the shared letter-combination is not itself a word (e.g., ). This contrast in results leads to the interpretation that native speakers have a specific mechanism for activating embedded words that is important when recognizing polymorphemic words through their stems. It is suggested that non-native speakers, or at least those with Chinese as their first language, do not engage or are slow in engaging such a mechanism. The form priming that they demonstrate arises from facilitated processing of the repeated letters rather than the pre-activation of a lexical representation.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Baayen, R. H., Davidson, D. J., & Bates, D. M.
    (2008) Mixed-effects modeling with crossed random effects for subjects and items. Journal of Memory and Language, 59, 390–412. 10.1016/j.jml.2007.12.005
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2007.12.005 [Google Scholar]
  2. Beyersmann, E., Casalis, S., Ziegler, J. C., & Grainger, J.
    (2014) Language proficiency and morpho-orthographic segmentation. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 22(4), 1054–1061. 10.3758/s13423‑014‑0752‑9
    https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-014-0752-9 [Google Scholar]
  3. Beyersmann, E., Cavalli, E., Casalis, S., & Colé, P.
    (2016) Embedded stem priming effects in prefixed and suffixed pseudowords. Scientific Studies of Reading, 20(3), 220–230. 10.1080/10888438.2016.1140769
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10888438.2016.1140769 [Google Scholar]
  4. Beyersmann, E., & Grainger, J.
    (2017) Support from the morphological family when unembedding the stem. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 44(1), 135–142.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Ciaccio, L. A., & Clahsen, H.
    (2020) Variability and consistency in first and second language processing: A masked morphological priming study on prefixation and suffixation. Language Learning, 70, 103–136. 10.1111/lang.12370
    https://doi.org/10.1111/lang.12370 [Google Scholar]
  6. Diependaele, K., Duñabeitia, J. A., Morris, J., & Keuleers, E.
    (2011) Fast morphological effects in first and second language word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 64, 344–358. 10.1016/j.jml.2011.01.003
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2011.01.003 [Google Scholar]
  7. Diependaele, K., Sandra, D., & Grainger, J.
    (2009) Semantic transparency and masked morphological priming: The case of prefixed words. Memory & Cognition, 37, 895–908. 10.3758/MC.37.6.895
    https://doi.org/10.3758/MC.37.6.895 [Google Scholar]
  8. Finley, A., & Penningroth, S.
    (2015) Online versus in-lab: Pros and cons of an online prospective memory experiment. InA. M. Columbus (Ed.), Advances in Psychology Research, vol. 113. pp.135–162. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Fiorentino, R., & Fund-Reznicek, E.
    (2009) Masked morphological priming of compound constituents. The Mental Lexicon, 4, 159–193. 10.1075/ml.4.2.01fio
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ml.4.2.01fio [Google Scholar]
  10. Foote, R., Qasem, M., & Trentman, E.
    (2020) Morphological decomposition in L2 Arabic: A masked priming study. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 49, 291–317. 10.1007/s10936‑020‑09688‑6
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10936-020-09688-6 [Google Scholar]
  11. Forster, K. I., & Davis, C.
    (1984) Repetition priming and frequency attenuation in lexical access. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 10, 680–698.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Forster, K. I., & Veres, C.
    (1998) The prime lexicality effect: Form-priming as a function of prime awareness, lexical status, and discrimination difficulty. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 24, 498–514.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Grainger, J., & Beyersmann, E.
    (2017) Edge-aligned embedded word activation initiates morpho-orthographic segmentation. InPsychology of Learning and Motivation (Vol.67, pp.285–317). Academic Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Hasenäcker, J., Beyersmann, E., & Schroeder, S.
    (2016) Masked morphological priming in German-speaking adults and children: Evidence from response time distributions. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 929. 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00929
    https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00929 [Google Scholar]
  15. Heyer, V., & Clahsen, H.
    (2015) Late bilinguals see a scan in scanner AND in scandal: Dissecting formal overlap from morphological priming in the processing of derived words. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 18, 543–550. 10.1017/S1366728914000662
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728914000662 [Google Scholar]
  16. Kim, S. Y., Wang, M., & Taft, M.
    (2015) Morphological decomposition in the recognition of prefixed and suffixed words: Evidence from Korean. Scientific Studies of Reading, 19, 183–203. 10.1080/10888438.2014.991019
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10888438.2014.991019 [Google Scholar]
  17. Kuznetsova, A., Brockhoff, P., & Christensen, R.
    (2014) LmerTest: Tests for random and fixed effects for linear mixed effect models. R package, version 2.0-3.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Li, J. & Taft, M.
    (2019) The processing of English prefixed words by Chinese-English bilinguals. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 1–11.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Li, J., Taft, M., & Xu, J.
    (2017) The processing of English derived words by Chinese-English bilinguals. Language Learning, 67, 858–884. 10.1111/lang.12247
    https://doi.org/10.1111/lang.12247 [Google Scholar]
  20. Li, M., Jiang, N., & Gor, K.
    (2017) L1 and L2 processing of compound words: Evidence from masked priming experiments in English. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 20, 384–402. 10.1017/S1366728915000681
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728915000681 [Google Scholar]
  21. Morris, J., Porter, J. H., Grainger, J., & Holcomb, P. J.
    (2011) Effects of lexical status and morphological complexity in masked priming: An ERP study. Language and Cognitive Processes, 26(4–6), 558–599. 10.1080/01690965.2010.495482
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01690965.2010.495482 [Google Scholar]
  22. New, B., Brysbaert, M., Veronis, J., & Pallier, C.
    (2007) The use of film subtitles to estimate word frequencies. Applied Psycholinguistics, 28(4), 661. 10.1017/S014271640707035X
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S014271640707035X [Google Scholar]
  23. Qiao, X., & Forster, K. I.
    (2013) Novel word lexicalization and the prime lexicality effect. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39, 1064–1074.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. (2017) Is the L2 lexicon different from the L1 lexicon? Evidence from novel word lexicalization. Cognition, 158, 147–152. 10.1016/j.cognition.2016.10.026
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2016.10.026 [Google Scholar]
  25. Rastle, K., & Davis, M. H.
    (2008) Morphological decomposition based on the analysis of orthography. Language and Cognitive Processes, 23(7–8), 942–971. 10.1080/01690960802069730
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01690960802069730 [Google Scholar]
  26. Silva, R., & Clahsen, H.
    (2008) Morphologically complex words in L1 and L2 processing: Evidence from masked priming experiments in English. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 11, 245–260. 10.1017/S1366728908003404
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728908003404 [Google Scholar]
  27. Taft, M.
    (1987) Morphographic processing. The BOSS re-emerges. InM. Coltheart (Ed.), Attention and performance, XII. pp.265–279. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Limited.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. (1991) Reading and the mental lexicon. Hove, UK: Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. (2015) The nature of lexical representation in visual word recognition. InA. Pollatsek, & R. Treiman (Eds.) Handbook on Reading. pp.99–113. New York: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199324576.013.4
    https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199324576.013.4 [Google Scholar]
  30. Taft, M., & Forster, K. I.
    (1975) Lexical storage and retrieval of prefixed words. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 14, 638–647. 10.1016/S0022‑5371(75)80051‑X
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-5371(75)80051-X [Google Scholar]
  31. Taft, M., & Li, J.
    (2020) A new type of masked form priming: Native versus nonnative English speakers. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 1–12. 10.1017/S0272263120000558
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263120000558 [Google Scholar]
  32. Taft, M., Li, S., & Beyersmann, E.
    (2018) What cross-morphemic letter transposition in derived nonwords tells us about lexical processing. Journal of Cognition, 1, 36. 10.5334/joc.39
    https://doi.org/10.5334/joc.39 [Google Scholar]
  33. Taft, M., Xu, J., & Li, S.
    (2017) Letter coding in visual word recognition: The impact of embedded words. Journal of Memory and Language, 92, 14–25. 10.1016/j.jml.2016.05.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2016.05.002 [Google Scholar]
  34. Taft, M., & Zhu, X.
    (1997) Submorphemic processing in reading Chinese. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 23, 761–775.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error