Event



Dissertation Proposal Defense: Creemers

Dec 14, 2018 at - | Linguistics Department Library (3401-C Walnut Street, room 301C)

Ava Creemers will be defending her dissertation proposal on Friday December 14 at 1pm. The defense will be held in the Linguistics Library. Please see below for abstract and title. (Working) Title: Morphological processing and the effects of semantic transparencyAdvisor: David EmbickProposal Committee: Kathryn Schuler, Florian Schwarz, Meredith Tamminga The proposed dissertation aims to provide empirical evidence for the theoretical construct of a ‘morpheme’ that is independent of semantic and phonological overlap. Specifically, the dissertation investigates ‘irregular word-formation processes’ by looking at multi-morphemic words that are semantically opaque. These words are crucial to test predictions of different models of lexical access, as they allow us to investigate whether morphological processing occurs in the absence of semantic overlap or interactions. Traditionally, these irregular words have been argued to be memorized in their full form in the mental lexicon (cf. Aronoff 1976; Bloomfield 1933; Chomsky 1965; Jackendoff 1997). However, preliminary results on opaque Dutch prefixed verbs presented in the dissertation are in line with a Full-Decomposition view of the lexicon (Stockall and Marantz 2006; Taft 1979; Taft and Forster 1975; see also Embick and Marantz 2005), providing evidence for the view that morphologically complex words are derived syntactically by the grammar from their constituent morphemes (Embick 2015). Building on the extensive prior literature from both theoretical linguistics and experimental psychology, my thesis takes the insights from linguistic theories to probe questions about morphological relatedness using an auditory primed lexical decision paradigm. In particular, the dissertation investigates the processing of the following types of words: (i) Dutch prefixed verbs, which may differ in meaning relatedness between the stem and the complex verb from fully transparent (e.g., aanbieden ‘offer’) to fully opaque (e.g., verbieden ‘forbid’, with the stem bieden ‘offer’); (ii) English suffixed words like treatment and its relation to a pseudo-derived word like pigment; and (iii) compound words, which range from fully transparent (e.g., bedroom), to partially opaque (strawberry or staircase), to fully opaque (deadline). Together, these case studies provide novel data that investigate how (putative) multi-morphemic words are accessed and represented in the mental lexicon during auditory word recognition.