Morphological decomposition based on the analysis of orthography

Kathleen Rastle*, Matthew Davis

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    284 Citations (Scopus)


    Recent theories of morphological processing have been dominated by the notion that morphologically complex words are decomposed into their constituents on the basis of their semantic properties. In this article we argue that the weight of evidence now suggests that the recognition of morphologically complex words begins with a rapid morphemic segmentation based solely on the analysis of orthography. Following a review of this evidence, we discuss the characteristics of this form of decomposition, speculate on what its purpose might be, consider how it might be learned in the developing reader, and describe what is known of its neural bases. Our discussion ends by reflecting on how evidence for semantically based decomposition might be (re)interpreted in the context of the orthographically based form of decomposition that we have described.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)942-971
    Number of pages30
    JournalLanguage and Cognitive Processes
    Issue number7-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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