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Regular morphologically complex neologisms leave detectable traces in the mental lexicon

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This study investigates whether regular morphological complex neologisms leave detectable traces in the mental lexicon. Experiment 1 (subjective frequency estimation) was a validation study for our materials. It revealed that semantic ambiguity led to a greater reduction of the ratings for neologisms compared to existing words. Experiment 2 (visual lexical decision) and Experiment 3 (self-paced reading in connected discourse) made use of long-distance priming. In both experiments, the prime (base or neologism) was followed after 39 intervening trials by the neologism. As revealed by mixed-effect analyses of covariance, the target neologisms elicited shorter processing latencies in the identity priming condition compared to the condition in which the base word had been read previously, indicating an incipient facilitatory frequency effect for the neologism.
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Keywords: LONG-DISTANCE PRIMING; MEMORY; MIXED-EFFECTS MODELS; MORPHOLOGY; NEOLOGISMS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 April 2007

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