Literacy Processes and Literacy Development
  • ISSN 1387-6732
  • E-ISSN: 1570-6001
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This paper proposes an approach for studying the structure and development of the mental lexicon based on morphological family size. For adults, the number of morphologically related words has been shown to facilitate word recognition (Schreuder, & Baayen, 1997). This effect is assumed to be caused by connections in the mental lexicon between morphologically related words. Because children still have to acquire word representations and their interconnectedness, family size effects in children are considered to be smaller. So far, however, developmental data on morphological family size effects are generally lacking. As a first step, we wanted to find out to what extent word frequency and morphological family size effects will appear in adult lexical decision data while using adult versus child language corpora as a frame of reference. Two findings were obtained. First, the materials specifically constructed for children evoked both frequency and family size effects. Second, frequency counts based on a Dutch corpus of child language (Schrooten & Vermeer, 1994) showed reliable frequency effects.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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