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The interpretation of ambiguous trimorphemic words in sentence context

By Alexander Pollatsek, Denis Drieghe, Linnaea Stockall and Roberto G. de Almeida

Abstract

Many trimorphemic words are structurally and semantically ambiguous. For example, unlockable can either be un-lockable (can’t be locked) or unlock-able (can be unlocked). Which interpretation is preferred and whether prior sentence context affects the initial interpretation is not clear from prior research. The present experiment embedded ambiguous trimorphemic words in sentence context and manipulated whether prior context disambiguated the meaning or not and examined the pattern of fixation durations on the ambiguous word and the remainder of the text. The results indicated that the unlock-able interpretation was preferred; moreover, prior context did not exert a significant effect until the eyes had initially exited from the target word

Topics: BF
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.soton.ac.uk:144619
Provided by: e-Prints Soton

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