The Effects of Semantic Priming on Novel Verb Inflection

Molly McCarthyUniversity of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Dartmouth, MA, USA
Trina KershawUniversity of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Abstract

Contemporary theories of language production disagree about the cognitive mechanisms involved in the production of past tense forms of regular and irregular verbs. Two models compete to explain this process: Dual-route and Single-route. The present study tests these models using previously reported methods of production and naturalness rating of the past tense forms of novel verbs. Overall, participants show a preference for regular verb forms, both in production and rating tasks. However, presentation of a novel verb in an irregular semantic context cancels out that preference. Previous findings were not replicated, and inconclusive results show some support for both models.

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