General programme, activity sheet

Thursday 18 September, 2014 09:15 to 10:30 Invited Lecture
Lecture I: Morphology in the Mental Lexicon: Experimental evidence from the acquisition and processing of different languages
Speaker: Harald Clahsen, Potsdam University

The mental lexicon is a repository to permit efficient representation and processing of words and their component parts. Entries in the mental lexicon consist of arbitrary mappings between form-level (phonological and orthographic) and meaning-level (semantic) information. The question, however, of whether the mental lexicon also encodes morphological and morphosyntactic information is controversial, and the mechanisms involved in learning and processing morphologically complex words are not fully understood. One popular approach claims that all morphologically complex words are learned, stored and processed within a single associative system that directly maps forms onto meanings, without encoding morphological or syntactic information. An alternative approach is represented by a family of dual-mechanism models which hold that morphologically complex word forms can be processed and learned both associatively, i.e. through stored full-form representations and by rules that decompose or parse inflected word forms into morphological constituents. While much previous work on this theoretical controversy has examined a narrow set of phenomena, e.g. regular vs. irregular inflection, in a comparatively small number of languages (with a strong focus on English), my research and that of my collaborators contribute cross-linguistic psycholinguistic studies from a range of typologically different languages to this debate.
In this talk, I will present results from three sets of experimental studies covering different morphological phenomena in different languages: (i) the development of verb inflection (specifically perfective vs. imperfective past tense) in Greek child language, (ii) conjugational classes and verb stem formation processes in Portuguese (and other Romance languages), (iii) derivational processes in Japanese (specifically – sa vs. –mi nominalizations). It will be shown that single-mechanism associative models are insufficient to account for the experimental results from these three studies and that dual-mechanism models provide a much better fit. My general conclusion from these three studies will be that morphological notions and concepts are not only useful descriptive tools for linguists, but also contribute to a better understanding of the acquisition and processing of complex words.

Other activities in 
08:30 h. to 09:00 h.Reception and delivery of material

09:00 h. to 09:15 h.Official opening

10:30 h. to 11:00 h.Coffee break

Organizers, sponsors, collaborators