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Preserved morphological processing in heritage speakers: A masked priming study on Turkish

JACOB, Gunnar
SAFAK, Duygu Fatma
Demir, ORHAN
Kırkıcı, Bilal
In a masked morphological priming experiment, we compared the processing of derived and inflected morphologically complex Turkish words in heritage speakers of Turkish living in Berlin and in native speakers of Turkish raised and living in Turkey. The results show significant derivational and inflectional priming effects of a similar magnitude in the heritage group and the control group. For both participant groups, semantic and orthographic control conditions indicate that these priming effects are genuinely morphological in nature, and cannot be due to semantic or orthographic similarity between prime and target. These results suggest that morphological processing in heritage speakers is based on the same fundamental processing mechanisms as in prototypical native speakers. We conclude that heritage speakers, despite the fact that they have acquired the language in a particular setting and were exposed to a relatively limited amount of input, can nevertheless develop native-like processing mechanisms for complex words.