Decomposition in a non-concatenated morphological structure involves more than just the roots: Evidence from fast priming

Avital Deutsch*, Hadas Velan, Tamar Michaly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Complex words in Hebrew are composed of two non-concatenated morphemes: a consonantal root embedded in a nominal or verbal word-pattern morpho-phonological unit made up of vowels or vowels and consonants. Research on written-word recognition has revealed a robust effect of the roots and the verbal-patterns, but not of the nominal-patterns, on word recognition. These findings suggest that the Hebrew lexicon is organized and accessed via roots. We explored the hypothesis that the absence of a nominal-pattern effect reflects methodological limitations of the experimental paradigms used in previous studies. Specifically, the potential facilitative effect induced by a shared nominal-pattern was counteracted by an interference effect induced by the competition between the roots of two words derived from different roots but with the same nominal-pattern. In the current study, a fast-priming paradigm for sentence reading and a “delayed-letters” procedure were used to isolate the initial effect of nominal-patterns on lexical access. The results, based on eye-fixation latency, demonstrated a facilitatory effect induced by nominal-pattern primes relative to orthographic control primes when presented for 33 or 42 ms. The results are discussed in relation to the role of the word-pattern as an organizing principle of the Hebrew lexicon, together with the roots.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number1 Special Issue
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Experimental Psychology Society 2017.


  • Decomposition
  • Eye-movements
  • Fast priming
  • Hebrew
  • Letter delay paradigm
  • Roots
  • Word-patterns


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