Lexical composition and the production of compounds: Evidence from errors in naming

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Whether the production of a morphologically complex word recruits compositional procedures appears to depend on the properties of the particular word-formation process at hand. Since the types of word formation that appear to enlist composition include regular inflection and productive derivation, an argument can be made for the role of morphological productivity in determining the approach taken to lexical production. However, morphological productivity typically entails semantic compositionality, so it could be that compositional procedures are exploited only when the meaning of the complex word is exhaustively characterised in terms of the meanings of its immediate morphological constituents. It is argued here that the lexical production system takes a compositional approach to processing morphologically complex forms in cases of productive word formation even if the semantics of the word cannot be derived formally from the meaning of its constituents. Evidence is presented from a case of acquired naming impairment in a patient whose ability to name objects with compound names is particularly disrupted.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01690960042000120

Publication date: August 1, 2001

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