Lexical storage and retrieval of prefixed words

Marcus Taft*, Kenneth I. Forster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

751 Citations (Scopus)


Three experiments are described which support the hypothesis that in a lexical decision task, prefixed words are analyzed into their constituent morphemes before lexical access occurs. The results show that nonwords that are stems of prefixed words (e.g., juvenate) take longer to classify than nonwords which are not stems (e.g., pertoire), suggesting that the nonword stem is directly represented in the lexicon. Further, words which can occur both as a free and as a bound morpheme (e.g., vent) take longer to classify when the bound form is more frequent than the free form. Finally, prefixed nonwords took longer to classify when they contained a real stem (e.g., dejuvenate), compared with control items which did not (e.g., depertoire). A general model of word recognition is presented which incorporates the process of morphological decomposition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-647
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1975
Externally publishedYes

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