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Morphological processing in developing readers: a psycholinguistic study on Turkish primary school children

Uğuz, Enis
The processing of morphologically complex words has been studies in many languages, leading to a variety of theoretical accounts. While dual-route models advocate two distinct mechanisms for word processing, single route models suggest a single mechanism. Contrasting findings as well as the different interpretations of the same results have kept the advocators of both accounts searching for a solid and undisputable justification for their views. This thesis investigated the early stages of morphological processing in Turkish children. The visual masked priming paradigm was used to investigate the processing of Turkish inflected and derived words by second-grade and fourth-grade primary school children. Furthermore, the spelling skills and vocabulary skills were measured to further investigate how these skills modulate early word processing. Both the second graders and the fourth graders showed priming effects for affixed words, with no significant differences between derived and inflected primes in the two grade levels. It was further found that the participants with higher vocabulary skills responded faster in all conditions. The results suggest a sensitivity for affixes in the early word processing of Turkish primary school children rather than a sensitivity for pseudo affixes, orthographic overlap, or semantic similarity.