Hearing Words Without Structure: Subliminal Speech Priming and the Organization of the Moroccan Arabic Lexicon

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/301752
Title:
Hearing Words Without Structure: Subliminal Speech Priming and the Organization of the Moroccan Arabic Lexicon
Author:
Schluter, Kevin Thomas
Issue Date:
2013
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Embargo:
Release after 05-Aug-2015
Abstract:
This dissertation investigates the mental representation of the root in the Moroccan dialect of spoken Arabic. While morphemes like roots have traditionally been defined as the smallest unit of sound-meaning correspondence, this definition has been long known to be problematic (Hockett, 1954). Other theories suggest that roots may be abstract units devoid of phonological or semantic content (Pfau, 2009; Harley, 2012) or that words are the basic unit of the mental lexicon (Aronoff, 1994, 2007; Blevins, 2006). The root of Moroccan words is examined with auditory priming experiments, using auditory lexical decision tasks, including the subliminal speech priming technique (Kouider and Dupoux, 2005). Chapter 2 shows that the subliminal speech priming technique should be modified with primes compressed uniformly to 240ms for Moroccan Arabic (the compression rate varies to achieve the uniform 240ms prime duration).Chapters 3 and 4 apply supraliminal and subliminal speech priming technique to Moroccan Arabic. The priming effect of words that share a root are found to be robust and distinct from words which simply share semantic or phonological content. Furthermore, roots which are instantiated as novel coinages produce priming effects, which further suggests that the root is a structural unit. Each related word in a morphological family, however, does not prime all of its relatives, contradicting the idea of a root as a structural unit. These subliminal effects also differ from supraliminal effects, where overlap in phonological form between the prime and target results in facilitation when identifying the target. The results of these experiments suggest that the word is the basic unit of speech perception, rather than the root. The root is is not an mental unit but a property of words or relationship among a morphological family. Competition from phonological neighbors is a late effect, since shared phonology facilitates only with the supraliminal technique but not the subliminal technique. Finally, realizational theories of morphology are supported, since take the word as the basic unit of the lexicon. While the root may not have phonological content per se, root phonology is important for deriving morphological families. Chapter 4 uses weak roots (which do not consistently show three root consonants in each derived form) to show that semi-vowels are encoded as root consonants.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Morphology; Priming; Root; Linguistics; Moroccan Arabic
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Linguistics
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Ussishkin, Adam

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleHearing Words Without Structure: Subliminal Speech Priming and the Organization of the Moroccan Arabic Lexiconen_US
dc.creatorSchluter, Kevin Thomasen_US
dc.contributor.authorSchluter, Kevin Thomasen_US
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.releaseRelease after 05-Aug-2015en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation investigates the mental representation of the root in the Moroccan dialect of spoken Arabic. While morphemes like roots have traditionally been defined as the smallest unit of sound-meaning correspondence, this definition has been long known to be problematic (Hockett, 1954). Other theories suggest that roots may be abstract units devoid of phonological or semantic content (Pfau, 2009; Harley, 2012) or that words are the basic unit of the mental lexicon (Aronoff, 1994, 2007; Blevins, 2006). The root of Moroccan words is examined with auditory priming experiments, using auditory lexical decision tasks, including the subliminal speech priming technique (Kouider and Dupoux, 2005). Chapter 2 shows that the subliminal speech priming technique should be modified with primes compressed uniformly to 240ms for Moroccan Arabic (the compression rate varies to achieve the uniform 240ms prime duration).Chapters 3 and 4 apply supraliminal and subliminal speech priming technique to Moroccan Arabic. The priming effect of words that share a root are found to be robust and distinct from words which simply share semantic or phonological content. Furthermore, roots which are instantiated as novel coinages produce priming effects, which further suggests that the root is a structural unit. Each related word in a morphological family, however, does not prime all of its relatives, contradicting the idea of a root as a structural unit. These subliminal effects also differ from supraliminal effects, where overlap in phonological form between the prime and target results in facilitation when identifying the target. The results of these experiments suggest that the word is the basic unit of speech perception, rather than the root. The root is is not an mental unit but a property of words or relationship among a morphological family. Competition from phonological neighbors is a late effect, since shared phonology facilitates only with the supraliminal technique but not the subliminal technique. Finally, realizational theories of morphology are supported, since take the word as the basic unit of the lexicon. While the root may not have phonological content per se, root phonology is important for deriving morphological families. Chapter 4 uses weak roots (which do not consistently show three root consonants in each derived form) to show that semi-vowels are encoded as root consonants.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectMorphologyen_US
dc.subjectPrimingen_US
dc.subjectRooten_US
dc.subjectLinguisticsen_US
dc.subjectMoroccan Arabicen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineLinguisticsen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorUssishkin, Adamen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberFarwaneh, Samiraen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberForster, Kennethen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHammond, Michaelen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberUssishkin, Adamen_US
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