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Do diacritics entail an early processing cost in the absence of abstract representations? Evidence from masked priming in English.

Perea, M., Gomez, P. and Baciero, A., 2022. Do diacritics entail an early processing cost in the absence of abstract representations? Evidence from masked priming in English. Language and Speech. (In Press)

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DOI: 10.1177/00238309221078321

Abstract

Using the masked priming technique, word recognition experiments in various languages have shown slower response times for a target word like NEVEU (nephew, in French) when preceded by a diacritical prime like néveu than by the identity prime neveu. The most common account of this effect is linguistic: diacritical and non-diacritical vowels (e.g., é and e) activate different letter representations (e.g., compare neveu /nə.vø/ vs. néveu /ne.vø/). However, another explanation is that the reduced effectiveness of the diacritical primes is merely due to the perceptual salience of accent marks in the first moments of word processing. Here, we designed a masked priming experiment that tested this perceptual salience account by comparing the effectiveness of diacritical versus non-diacritical primes in a language where diacritics have no linguistic value, namely, English (e.g., nórth-NORTH vs. north-NORTH). We found a small but reliable cost due to the diacritical primes, thus revealing that perceptual salience reduced the effectiveness of the primes. However, the effect sizes were substantially smaller than in the experiments in languages with diacritical marks, thus suggesting that the néveu-NEVEU versus neveu-NEVEU difference relies on both linguistic and perceptual sources.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:0023-8309
Uncontrolled Keywords:lexical access; masked priming; orthographic processing; visual similarity
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:37535
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:22 Sep 2022 15:50
Last Modified:22 Sep 2022 15:50

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