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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews psycholinguistic theories and experimental work relating to morphologically complex words. It presents five general theoretical approaches to the processing of complex words, followed by four areas of experimental work that have been used to test these theories. The theories differ in the extent to which constituent morphemes are explicitly represented and used in processing. Indeed, they range from an approach in which there are only orthographic and semantic representations (i.e. no separate word or morpheme representations) to an approach in which the whole word and all possible constituents are represented and activated. In general, the experimental work supports the idea that the processing of complex words makes use of the morphological constituents of the words. However, the details of such processing are not yet clear.

Keywords: complex words, mental lexicon, lexical representation, morphological decomposition, psycholinguistics

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