Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 1–28 | Cite as

The Separability of Morphological Processes from Semantic Meaning and Syntactic Class in Production of Single Words: Evidence from the Hebrew Root Morpheme

  • Avital Deutsch


In the present study we investigated to what extent the morphological facilitation effect induced by the derivational root morpheme in Hebrew is independent of semantic meaning and grammatical information of the part of speech involved. Using the picture–word interference paradigm with auditorily presented distractors, Experiment 1 compared the facilitation effect induced by semantically transparent versus semantically opaque morphologically related distractor words (i.e., a shared root) on the production latency of bare nouns. The results revealed almost the same amount of facilitation for both relatedness conditions. These findings accord with the results of the few studies that have addressed this issue in production in Indo-European languages, as well as previous studies in written word perception in Hebrew. Experiment 2 compared the root’s facilitation effect, induced by morphologically related nominal versus verbal distractors, on the production latency of bare nouns. The results revealed a facilitation effect of similar size induced by the shared root, regardless of the distractor’s part of speech. It is suggested that the principle that governs lexical organization at the level of morphology, at least for Hebrew roots, is form-driven and independent of semantic meaning. This principle of organization crosses the linguistic domains of production and written word perception, as well as grammatical organization according to part of speech.


Morphology and production Picture–word-interference paradigm (PWI) Morphological processes in producing Hebrew words Syntactic class in production 



This research was supported by a grant from the Israeli Science Foundation (#179/09) to Avital Deutsch. I thank Roni Pener-Tessler, Tamar Malinovitch, Dana Zahar and Yaara Lador for their extensive help in constructing the materials and excellent assistance in running the experiments.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The School of EducationThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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