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postgraduate thesis: Compound word processing: development and disorder

TitleCompound word processing: development and disorder
Authors
Issue Date2012
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Abstract
Compounding is one of the most productive methods to construct words in different languages, e.g. joining the words “super” and “man” gives the compound word “superman”. For decades, researchers are interested to know how compound words are stored and retrieved in the lexicon. Different theories of lexical storage and retrieval of compound words were proposed to explain the compound word processing observed in both normal and abnormal adult subjects. However, little studies have attempted to apply these theories to explain the developmental pattern of storage and retrieval of compound words. To fill the gap, the major aim of the current study is to investigate the power of different theories of lexical storage and retrieval of compound words in explaining the typical and atypical development of compound word processing in Chinese children. Altogether, 20 grade 2 children, 22 grade 4 children, and 17 grade 6 children screened to have normal non-verbal intelligence and reading abilities were recruited from a local mainstream school. Three experiments were conducted to investigate the existence of the holistic representations of compound words and the representations of their constituent morphemes in the lexicon, and their involvement during the compound word retrieval processes across different grade levels. Results show that grade 4 and grade 6 children demonstrate significant whole-word frequency, morphological family size and semantic transparency effects in all three experiments, a pattern which resembles that observed in normal adult subjects. The grade 2 children, however, only demonstrate significant whole-word frequency effect but not the morphological family size and the semantic transparency effect. The results indicate that grade 4 and grade 6 children adopt the partial-decomposed approach of compound word storage and retrieval (e.g. Taft, 2003). As for the grade 2 children, it is hypothesized that their performances represent a developing stage of the partial-decomposed approach, where networks of morphological relations between family members were underdeveloped in their lexicon. Further investigation of the compatibility of the partial-decomposed approach in explaining the compound word storage and retrieval pattern resulted from atypical development was conducted. The three experiments mentioned above were administered on 16 poor readers (PR), 16 reading-level-matched (RL) peers and 16 chronological-agematched (CA) peers. Interestingly, the PR group’s performances resemble that of the RL and CA group in experiments of whole-word frequency and morphological family size but not in experiment of semantic transparency. The PR group’s performances can be explained by assuming a deficit in identifying shared semantic features between compound words and their constituents in the partial-decomposed approach. It is proposed that the PR group identifies frequently occurring morphemes as salient orthographic reading units without recognizing the shared semantic features between compound words and their constituents. In summary, results of the current study support the partial-decomposed approach of lexical storage and retrieval of compound words. The current study further proposes (i) a developing stage of the partial-decomposed approach to explain the compound word processing within an under-developed lexicon and (ii) a deviated partial-decomposed approach to explain the compound word processing of children with reading difficulties.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectWord recognition.
Chinese language - Lexicology.
Dept/ProgramSpeech and Hearing Sciences

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorLau, Kai-yan, Dustin.-
dc.contributor.author劉啟欣.-
dc.date.issued2012-
dc.description.abstractCompounding is one of the most productive methods to construct words in different languages, e.g. joining the words “super” and “man” gives the compound word “superman”. For decades, researchers are interested to know how compound words are stored and retrieved in the lexicon. Different theories of lexical storage and retrieval of compound words were proposed to explain the compound word processing observed in both normal and abnormal adult subjects. However, little studies have attempted to apply these theories to explain the developmental pattern of storage and retrieval of compound words. To fill the gap, the major aim of the current study is to investigate the power of different theories of lexical storage and retrieval of compound words in explaining the typical and atypical development of compound word processing in Chinese children. Altogether, 20 grade 2 children, 22 grade 4 children, and 17 grade 6 children screened to have normal non-verbal intelligence and reading abilities were recruited from a local mainstream school. Three experiments were conducted to investigate the existence of the holistic representations of compound words and the representations of their constituent morphemes in the lexicon, and their involvement during the compound word retrieval processes across different grade levels. Results show that grade 4 and grade 6 children demonstrate significant whole-word frequency, morphological family size and semantic transparency effects in all three experiments, a pattern which resembles that observed in normal adult subjects. The grade 2 children, however, only demonstrate significant whole-word frequency effect but not the morphological family size and the semantic transparency effect. The results indicate that grade 4 and grade 6 children adopt the partial-decomposed approach of compound word storage and retrieval (e.g. Taft, 2003). As for the grade 2 children, it is hypothesized that their performances represent a developing stage of the partial-decomposed approach, where networks of morphological relations between family members were underdeveloped in their lexicon. Further investigation of the compatibility of the partial-decomposed approach in explaining the compound word storage and retrieval pattern resulted from atypical development was conducted. The three experiments mentioned above were administered on 16 poor readers (PR), 16 reading-level-matched (RL) peers and 16 chronological-agematched (CA) peers. Interestingly, the PR group’s performances resemble that of the RL and CA group in experiments of whole-word frequency and morphological family size but not in experiment of semantic transparency. The PR group’s performances can be explained by assuming a deficit in identifying shared semantic features between compound words and their constituents in the partial-decomposed approach. It is proposed that the PR group identifies frequently occurring morphemes as salient orthographic reading units without recognizing the shared semantic features between compound words and their constituents. In summary, results of the current study support the partial-decomposed approach of lexical storage and retrieval of compound words. The current study further proposes (i) a developing stage of the partial-decomposed approach to explain the compound word processing within an under-developed lexicon and (ii) a deviated partial-decomposed approach to explain the compound word processing of children with reading difficulties.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B47249675-
dc.subject.lcshWord recognition.-
dc.subject.lcshChinese language - Lexicology.-
dc.titleCompound word processing: development and disorder-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb4724967-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineSpeech and Hearing Sciences-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b4724967-
dc.date.hkucongregation2012-

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