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Inflectional complexity and experience affect plural processing in younger and older readers of Dutch and German

Reifegerste, J., Meyer, A. S., & Zwitserlood, P. (2017). Inflectional complexity and experience affect plural processing in younger and older readers of Dutch and German. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 32(4), 471-487. doi:10.1080/23273798.2016.1247213.
According to dual-route models of morphological processing, regular inflected words can be retrieved as whole-word forms or decomposed into morphemes. Baayen, Dijkstra, and Schreuder [(1997). Singulars and plurals in Dutch: Evidence for a parallel dual-route model. Journal of AQ2 Memory and Language, 37, 94–117. doi:10.1006/jmla.1997.2509] proposed a ¶ dual-route model according to which plurals of singular-dominant words (e.g. “brides”) are decomposed, while plurals of plural-dominant words (e.g. “peas”) are accessed as whole-word units. We report two lexical-decision experiments investigating how plural processing is influenced by participants’ age (a proxy for experience with word forms) and morphological complexity of the language (German versus Dutch). For both Dutch participant groups and older German participants, we replicated the interaction between number and dominance reported by Baayen and colleagues. Younger German participants showed a main effect of number, indicating access of all plurals via decomposition. Access to stored forms seems to depend on morphological richness and experience with word forms. The data pattern fits neither full-decomposition nor full-storage models, but is compatible with dual-route models

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