Two words as one: a multi-naming investigation of the age-of-acquisition effect in compound-word processing

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Abstract

Previous research has shown that early-acquired words are produced faster than late-acquired words. Juhasz and colleagues (Juhasz, Lai & Woodcock, Behavior Research Methods, 47 (4), 1004-1019, 2015; Juhasz, The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1-10, 2018) argue that the Age-of-Acquisition (AoA) loci for complex words, specifically compound words, are found at the lexical/semantic level. In the current study, two experiments were conducted to evaluate this claim and investigate the influence of AoA in reading compound words aloud. In Experiment 1, 48 participants completed a word naming task. Using general linear mixed modelling, we found that the age at which the compound word was learned significantly affected the naming latencies beyond the other psycholinguistic properties measured. The second experiment required 48 participants to name the compound word when the two morphemes were presented with a space in-between (combinatorial naming, e.g. air plane). We found that the age at which the compound word was learned, as well as the AoA of the individual morphemes that formed the compound word, significantly influenced combinatorial naming latency. These findings are discussed in relation to theories of the AoA in language processing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-525
Number of pages15
JournalMemory and Cognition
Volume48
Early online date21 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

Keywords

  • age-of-acquisition
  • word naming
  • combinatorial naming
  • compound words

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