The present paper investigates whether Semitic languages impose a rigid triconsonantal structural principle on root-morpheme representation, by examining morphological priming effects obtained with primes consisting of weak roots. For weak roots, the complete three-consonantal structure is not kept in most of their derivations, and only two letters are consistently repeated in all derivations. In a series of masked priming experiments subjects were presented with primes consisting of the weak roots letters which are repeated in all derivations. The results showed that the two consistent letters of weak roots facilitated the recognition of targets derived from these roots. In contrast, any two letters of complete roots did not facilitate the recognition of complete root derivations. The implications of these results to Parallel-Distributed models and to localist-representational approaches, are discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported in part by the Binational Science Foundation Grant 00-00056, and in part by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant HD 01994 to Haskins Laboratories.