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date: 06 October 2022

Psycholinguistic Research on Inflectional Morphology in the Romance Languageslocked

Psycholinguistic Research on Inflectional Morphology in the Romance Languageslocked

  • Claudia MarziClaudia MarziInstitute for Computational Linguistics, Italian National Research Council
  •  and Vito PirrelliVito PirrelliIstituto di Linguistica Computazionale Antonio Zampolli Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche

Summary

Over the past decades, psycholinguistic aspects of word processing have made a considerable impact on views of language theory and language architecture. In the quest for the principles governing the ways human speakers perceive, store, access, and produce words, inflection issues have provided a challenging realm of scientific inquiry, and a battlefield for radically opposing views. It is somewhat ironic that some of the most influential cognitive models of inflection have long been based on evidence from an inflectionally impoverished language like English, where the notions of inflectional regularity, (de)composability, predictability, phonological complexity, and default productivity appear to be mutually implied. An analysis of more “complex” inflection systems such as those of Romance languages shows that this mutual implication is not a universal property of inflection, but a contingency of poorly contrastive, nearly isolating inflection systems. Far from presenting minor faults in a solid, theoretical edifice, Romance evidence appears to call into question the subdivision of labor between rules and exceptions, the on-line processing vs. long-term memory dichotomy, and the distinction between morphological processes and lexical representations. A dynamic, learning-based view of inflection is more compatible with this data, whereby morphological structure is an emergent property of the ways inflected forms are processed and stored, grounded in universal principles of lexical self-organization and their neuro-functional correlates.

Subjects

  • Cognitive Science
  • Computational Linguistics
  • Morphology
  • Neurolinguistics
  • Psycholinguistics

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