Dissertation Defense: Creemers

“Morphological Processing and the Effects of Semantic Transparency”
Apr 24, 2020 at - | Event will be Virtual due to the Coronavirus restrictions.


Ava Creemers is pleased to announce that she will be defending her dissertation titled “Morphological Processing and the Effects of Semantic Transparency” on Friday, April 24 at 10:00 am EDT. Further information and an abstract can be found below. My dissertation can be found here.

The defense is open to the public and will be held on Zoom.


Supervisor: David Embick
Committee: Florian Schwarz, Meredith Tamminga
Date & Time: Friday, April 24, 10:00 am EDT

Morphological Processing and the Effects of Semantic Transparency

The dissertation examines the theoretical construct of a morpheme as a unit that is independent of semantics and phonology by examining multi-morphemic words that are semantically opaque. I test predictions of current models of lexical processing, some of which posit abstract morphological representations (i.e., Full-Decomposition models), while others propose that decomposition is dependent on factors such as semantic transparency. I use an auditory primed lexical decision paradigm to examine the processing of (i) Dutch prefixed verbs, which 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 their relation to pseudo-suffixed words like pigment; and (iii) compound words, which may be transparent (e.g., bedroom) or opaque (e.g., strawberry, staircase). Together, the results offer a window into the issue of how (apparent) multi-morphemic words are processed and represented in the mental lexicon during auditory word recognition. In line with a Full-Decomposition view, the results suggest that morphemes form the basic units of lexical processing, and provide evidence that morphological relatedness does not require shared meaning.