The acquisition of morphological knowledge investigated through artificial language learning

Marjolein Merkx, Kathleen Rastle*, Matthew H. Davis

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)


    Affix knowledge plays an important role in visual word recognition, but little is known about how it is acquired. The authors present a new method of investigating the acquisition of affixes in which participants are trained on novel affixes presented in novel word contexts (e.g., sleepnept). Experiment 1 investigated the role of semantic information on affix acquisition by comparing a form-learning condition with a condition in which participants also received definitions for each novel word. Experiment 2 investigated the role of long-term consolidation on affix acquisition by comparing knowledge of learned affixes two days and nearly two months after training. Results demonstrated that episodic knowledge of affixes can be acquired shortly after a single training session using either form or semantic learning, but suggested that the development of lexicalized representations of affixes requires the provision of semantic information during learning as well as a substantial period of offline consolidation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1200-1220
    Number of pages21
    JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


    • Consolidation
    • Morpheme acquisition
    • Orthography
    • Semantics
    • Word learning


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