Letter transpositions and morphemic boundaries in the second language processing of derived words: An exploratory study of individual differences

Kahraman H., KIRKICI B.

APPLIED PSYCHOLINGUISTICS, vol.42, no.2, pp.417-446, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1017/s0142716420000673
  • Page Numbers: pp.417-446


Research into nonnative (L2) morphological processing has produced largely conflicting findings. To contribute to the discussions surrounding the contradictory findings in the literature, we examined L2 morphological priming effects along with a transposed-letter (TL) methodology. Critically, we also explored the potential effects of individual differences in the reading networks of L2 speakers using a test battery of reading proficiency. A masked primed lexical decision experiment was carried out in which the same target (e.g., ALLOW) was preceded by a morphological prime (allowable), a TL-within prime (allwoable), an substituted letter (SL)-within prime (allveable), a TL-across prime (alloawble), an SL-across prime (alloimble), or an unrelated prime (believable). The average data yielded morphological priming but no significant TL priming. However, the results of an exploratory analysis of the potential effects of individual differences suggested that individual variability mediated the group-level priming patterns in L2 speakers. TL-within and TL-across priming effects were obtained only when the performance of participants on nonword reading was considered, while the magnitude of the morphological priming effects diminished as the knowledge of vocabulary expanded. The results highlight the importance of considering individual differences while testing L2 populations.