Formal and semantic effects of morphological families on word recognition in Hebrew

Avital Deutsch*, Victor Kuperman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In Hebrew, content words are usually composed of two interleaving morphemes; roots which carry semantic information, and word-patterns which mainly carry grammatical information. The family size effect in languages with non-concatenative morphology has been previously examined only with respect to the root. The present study reports a lexical-decision experiment with 260 Hebrew nouns representing a variety of nominal word-patterns and roots. We observed independent facilitatory effects of morphological family sizes of the roots and the nominal word-patterns. The family size effect of the nominal word-pattern was stronger for words with low frequency. The novelty of these findings is in showing in a within-stimuli design that both morphemes have a role in defining the complex family effect in a language with non-concatenated morphology, despite the massive differences in their linguistic characteristics. The data provide evidence in favour of the proposed multi-dimensional structure of the Hebrew lexicon.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)87-100
Number of pages14
JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Hebrew
  • family-size effect
  • lexical decision
  • morphology
  • word-patterns


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