Jun 22 – 24, 2017
SISSA Main Campus
Europe/Rome timezone

Dissociating derivational and inflectional priming: Evidence from older bilinguals

Jun 22, 2017, 3:20 PM
2h 10m
Lecture Hall Paolo Budinich (SISSA Main Campus)

Lecture Hall Paolo Budinich

SISSA Main Campus

via Bonomea 265, 34136, Trieste
Poster Freely Contributed Paper Poster 1

Speaker

Jana Reifegerste (Potsdam Research Institute for Multilingualism, University of Potsdam, Germany)

Description

Unusual populations sometimes provide evidence for theoretically relevant contrasts that are more difficult to get from fit young native speakers. One case in point is derivational vs. inflectional morphology which in a number of masked priming studies (e.g., Jacob et al., in press; Kırkıcı & Clahsen, 2013; Veríssimo et al., 2016) yielded a dissociation for late bilinguals (L2) but not for native controls (L1). While bilinguals showed efficient priming for derivation (*walker* – *walk*), but not for inflection (*walked* – *walk*), the L1 controls showed similar magnitudes of priming for both. The sources of the selective derivational priming effect in bilinguals are, however, controversial. This study contributes new evidence to this topic, from a study of older individuals (mean age = 62, range: 50-83): 36 L2 speakers of German (L1: English) and a control group of 36 L1 German speakers. We compared masked-priming effects (SOA=50ms) for derivational and inflectional primes to the same target (e.g., *Warnung* – *warnen* vs. *gewarnt* – *warnen* ‘(the) warning – warn’ vs. ‘warned – warn’). Appropriate orthographic and semantic control conditions were also included. While there were no orthographic or semantic priming effects in any group, the morphologically related conditions yielded significant Group X Prime Type interactions (all *p* < .05). These interactions were due to reliable derivational (but no inflectional) priming for the bilinguals, and no corresponding contrast (with similar inflectional and derivational priming magnitudes) for the L1 controls. Our findings replicate the L1/L2 contrast obtained for younger individuals with new groups of older individuals. We argue that combinatorial processing (viz. affix stripping) is preserved in aging (hence intact derivational priming) but that the processing of morpho-syntactic features is impeded in a late-learned L2 (yielding no or reduced inflectional priming for both younger and older bilinguals).

Primary author

Jana Reifegerste (Potsdam Research Institute for Multilingualism, University of Potsdam, Germany)

Co-authors

Harald Clahsen (Potsdam Research Institute for Multilingualism, University of Potsdam, Germany) Kirill Elin (Potsdam Research Institute for Multilingualism, University of Potsdam, Germany)

Presentation materials

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