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Interestingly, at right frontal sites, this negative inflection reverses into a strong positivity. For the Spanish speakers, left frontal and midline channels show a reduced but still significant negative inflection in the difference curve, also starting around ms. This suggests an early N effect for English speakers, and a standard N effect for the non-native groups although delayed, as expected for non-natives— Moreno and Kutas , with the strongest effect emerging for the German speakers The N is traditionally considered to reflect semantic integration processes Kutas and Federmeier, , and its amplitude has been found to be larger for non-words than words Kutas and Federmeier, , including when the test items were reversed and non-reversed compounds El Yagoubi et al.

This ERP signature traditionally reported at more parietal electrodes, but Voss and Federmeier, demonstrated that it can also be found in more anterior locations, as we do here. All groups featured a significant positive peak in amplitude around ms, as can be seen in the left plot regions of Figure 4. As the difference curves in the corresponding right plot regions are relatively flat for the first ms, this P also characterized the reading of compounds with reversed word order. This effect was more pronounced for English and German speakers, and somewhat attenuated for the Spanish speakers.

In all groups, this peak occurred earlier at more parietal regions in the left hemisphere, suggesting a possible spreading from parietal to frontal regions. In the Reversed Word Order condition, the English and Spanish groups feature a significant positive inflection in amplitude at left frontal sites starting around ms and rising up to the end of the time window [ ms], suggesting a higher, later peak. The German group does not feature this robust pattern.

Furthermore, the English and Spanish, but not the Germans, show at some right channels a linear increase in amplitude over time. For English and Spanish, a positivity around ms post stimulus onset may reflect a P or perhaps a P indexing the processing of syntactic repair or integration Kaan, Comparing the three groups, the Spanish difference curves group together with the English difference curves, whereas the German difference curves stand apart with a stronger N effect at left frontal sites and, surprisingly, a P effect at right frontal sites. Figure 5 presents the three-way interaction of the frequency of the first constituent horizontal axis of each contour plot by the frequency of the second constituent vertical axis of each contour plot by OG.

First consider channel C3 in the upper left panel of plots of Figure 5. What this panel shows is that higher amplitudes are characteristic for compounds for which both constituent frequencies are either high upper right corner or low lower left corner. Lower amplitudes are characteristic for mismatching constituent frequencies. This kind of cross-over interaction has been observed previously for the constituents of derived words in an eye-tracking study of reading Kuperman et al. German speakers in the licit condition center left panel show an inverse U-shaped effect of modifier frequency for lower values of head frequency at most channels.

We think this effect may be the result of the prior priming of the head constituent, which may have affected the nonnative speakers of German more than the native speakers of English. The inverse U-shaped effect may represent optimization of the response to those words which have probabilities gauged by their corpus frequencies that are themselves probable, i. In other words, we think it is not the relative frequency of the modifier itself that predicts the amplitude, but the probability of that relative frequency.

For Spanish, significant results for the licit word order shown in the lower left plot region are too scattered to provide a realistic basis for interpretation. Next consider the consequences of reversing constituent order, as shown in the right-hand half of Figure 5. For English and German top and center panels , and more right-lateralized for Spanish lower panel , downward adjustments of the amplitude are widespread, especially at more frontal sites in the English and German groups. We speculate that source analysis will find that these negativities reflect conflict resolution processes originating from the anterior cingulate cortex ACC Botvinick et al.

For English, patterns across channels vary widely, with the common feature that negative effects are pervasive for high head frequencies. Since the head was primed, the appearance of the head in the inconventional initial position may have induced greater processing costs especially for higher-frequency heads.

The pattern for German center right plot region is much more systematic. The inverse U-shaped effect that emerged for the licit word order is negated by a U-shaped negative inflection of the EEG wave. This negative inflection is even present at many sites where no significant effect was discernable in the licit condition see e.

The change in polarity of the effect suggests the hypothesis that the negative, downwards, adjustments to the EEG waveform are an index of processing costs, whereas the positive inverse U-shaped effects in the licit condition reflect facilitated processing. The pattern for Spanish in the reversed condition is strikingly different from that for English and German. First, the sensors in the left hemisphere reveal a pattern that bears some resemblance to the pattern for English in the licit condition, compare for instance C3 for English licit and Spanish Reversed.

Compounds with constituents of similar frequency show positive inflections, whereas constituents of dissimilar frequency show negative inflections. Since the negative inflections correspond to high-entropy situations, this pattern fits nicely with the hypothesis advanced above that positive inflections reflect facilitated processing, and negative inflections, increased processing costs.

The reason that the Spanish in the reversed condition pattern with the English in the licit condition is most likely to be the licitness of the reversed word order for Spanish. Interestingly, the negative effects at many channels in the right hemisphere, as well as at more parietal channels, set the Spanish apart from English in both the licit and reversed word order conditions. We think these negativities reflect the processing invested in resolving the incongruity of the licit Spanish word order for English compounds.

The present examination of similarities and differences between native and non-native reading of English compounds revealed the results summarized in Table 7. This indicates that the target structure of English compounds has been acquired, and that there is no representational deficit. This is unsurprising as no functional morphology is involved Lardiere, ; Slabakova, and head-directionality transfer effects are expected to be short-lived Haznedar, ; Unsworth, For compounds presented with reversed constituent order, performance dropped for all groups except the native group in the delayed lexical decision task—Study 2.

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Whereas accuracy of German speakers was very similar to that of English speakers, the accuracy of Spanish speakers was significantly reduced under word order reversal. Furthermore, it was only for the Spanish speakers that response latencies were significantly slower than those of English native speakers in Study 1 , a result not expected according to the Interface Hypothesis Sorace, —which predicts similar processing difficulties in the non-native language, irrespective of the properties of the L1.

The slower responses of the Spanish L2 speakers suggest an interference effect from their native language: Rejecting a compound presented in reversed order requires the Spanish participants to reject what would be a licit word order in their L1. This is where they make errors, and where their responses become elongated. These results reveal the presence of L1-induced residual errors in the processing of a core grammar phenomenon. The Spanish speakers show an effect of compound frequency, just as the English speakers, but for the reversed i.

The Spanish speakers also show a crossover effect of the constituent frequencies, as do the English speakers, again for the reversed instead of the licit word order.

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The compound frequency effect suggests familiarity with the onomasiological function of the compound when the constituents appear in the order appropriate for their L1. The crossover effect of the constituent frequencies is likewise conditioned on the order in the speakers' L1, and may bear witness to higher processing costs when the entropy of the probability distribution of modifier and head [as gauged by their relative frequencies] is high see Kuperman et al.

The frequency effects present for the German speakers are very different from both those of English and of Spanish speakers. Their EEG signal was not predictable from compound frequency, suggesting decomposition i. Furthermore, the constituent frequency effects were different in nature, showing for modifier frequency conditional on a low head frequency an inverse U-shaped curve for licit word order, and a U-shaped pattern for the reversed word order.

For these speakers, the violation condition is characterized by topographically pervasive negativities. This suggests that German speakers were especially sensitive to the word order violation in English, which also violates the expected word order in German. Support for this hightened sensitivity comes from the N effect for this group of speakers, which is characterized by a well-defined narrow large downward inflection for the reversed compounds.

Of course, the speakers of the other two languages must also have been aware of the violations, as indicated by their increased error rates and longer response latencies.

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Nevertheless, the N effects for the English and Spanish speakers are not as pronounced as for the German speakers. A final difference between the German speakers and the other two language groups, for which we have no explanation, is the absence of a clear positivity starting around ms post stimulus onset possibly a P or a P effect indexing reanalysis and repair , and the presence of a positive inflection around ms post stimulus onset at channels at right frontal sites, the mirror image of the N effect.

An alternative interpretation for the negativity observed around ms post-stimulus onset in the present study is that it reflects the left anterior negativity LAN component which is assumed to index integration of morphosyntactic information Friederici, , ; Steinhauer et al. In fact, the scalp distribution of the observed component anterior and predominantly left does align with LAN. The LAN has been shown to be elicited by subject verb agreement violations but not by number or gender violations between an antecedent and a reflexive pronoun— Osterhout and Mobley , grammatical gender violation Gunter et al.

Though the LAN component is typically observed in studies with sentence stimuli, it is possible to interpret our findings as a LAN if we assume that the processing and violations in the compounds used in the present study are morpho-syntactic rather than semantic in nature. Assuming that the anterior negativity is LAN, rather than N, and indexes morpho-syntactic processing rather than semantic processing, the results are consistent with El Yagoubi et al.

These researchers argued for compound decomposition during comprehension providing evidence against full-listing models and in favor of decomposition or dual-route models of compound processing.

Thus, regardless of whether the stimuli were licit or illicit, participants had to attend and indicate their decision: the P here could be interpreted as indexing attention associated with language processing. Several authors have proposed that P activity is related to subsequent P activity for reanalysis and repair processes e. All groups were sensitive to the probabilities of the modifier and head constituents.

This challenges the claim of Silva-Corvalan and Clahsen that non-native speakers would rely on whole-word processing without understanding the constituents, but is consistent with a syntactic analysis of noun-noun compounds. Our results suggest that lexically transparent NNCs with low frequencies are processed combinatorially by advanced non-native speakers, as they are by native speakers MacGregor and Shtyrov, Our findings are also consistent with the conjoint effects of both whole-word and constituent probabilities in the eye-tracking record, as early as first fixation durations see, e.

The importance of the constituents for non-native speakers is reminiscent of the decompositional eye-movement patterns of less-proficient readers reported by Kuperman and Van Dyke, Our study confirms the importance of the Third Factor Chomsky, in L2 research: it suggests that processing effects can be induced by properties of the L1 that cannot be fully inhibited during L2 processing, in spite of acquisition of the target representation.

In terms of Detection Theory Macmillan and Creelman, , this predicts that false alarms i. It might be that domain-general inhibition is required to suppress L1 interferences in L2 processing, in the same way as it is recruited for language switching de Bruin et al. Methodologically, the insights gleaned from the EEG amplitudes would not have been possible without generalized additive mixed models. At the same time, we believe we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. For instance, the model can be improved by allowing the interaction of the constituent frequencies by group and constituent order to vary with time, using five-way tensor product smooths.

Two considerations have withheld us from following up on such considerably more complex models. First, without specific hypotheses as a guide, interpretation becomes extremely difficult. Second, we are concerned that with a relative small number of compounds , overfitting might become an issue. For future research specifically addressing the development over time of constituent and whole-compound frequency effects, we recommend regression designs with substantially larger numbers of compounds.

Replication studies will be essential for boosting confidence in the nonlinear effects revealed by the GAMMs. Cecile De Cat: The first author conceived the project and was substantially involved in all aspects of its design and realization except for data collection , as well as in the analysis and interpretation, and the drafting and revision of the manuscript. Ekaterini Klepousniotou: The second author contributed substantially to the design and realization, oversaw the data collection and initial data preparation, contributed to the interpretation of the results and critically revised the manuscript.

Harald Baayen: The third author led and substantially contributed to the analysis of the ERP data and its interpretation, and contributed substantially to the drafting of the relevant sections and conclusions. All authors are responsible for final approval of the version to be published and agree to be accountable for all the aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

The third author was supported by an Alexander von Humboldt research chair awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt foundation, and the first author was supported by a British Academy Skills Acquisition award SQ and by the Leeds Humanities Research Institute. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. Many thanks to Antoine Tremblay for his generous help with the data preparation script, to Cyrus Shaoul for friendly technical and coding advice, to Jacolien van Rij for helpful suggestions for the GAMM analysis, to the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments, and to Raphael Morschett, Chris Norton, Kremena Koleva and Natasha Rust for the data collection and pre-processing.

These ratings were converted into a numeric score expressed as a percentage. The length of the stimuli ranged from 7 to 18 characters mean Table A5 in the Appendix give the mean reaction times by participant group and condition. Each single-chanel analysis was carried out on , data points. The main results of these models are summarized by means of Figures 4 , 5. Patterns that show geographical consistency across neighboring channels are the ones we have most confidence in.

We focus on C3 in the model presentation, as a representative chanel for the effects of interest in our study. A baseline period was not included in the figures, because the pre-target window is one for which differential effects are expected, as different primes are presented. Baselining has been carried out to nullify intercept shifts due to the prime, but we do NOT expect the same profile across conditions, because the primes are different, and related to the compounds in different ways.

Nevertheless, with only 10 speakers for each group, only a replication study can reveal how robust the regression curves and regression surfaces actually are. Arcara, G. Compound headedness in the mental lexicon: an event-related potential study. Barber, H. Grammatical gender and number agreement in spanish: an erp comparison.

Bates, D. R package version 1. Bertram, R. Morphological parsing and the use of segmentation cues in reading Finnish compounds. Botvinick, M. Evaluating the demand for control: anterior cingulate cortex and crosstalk monitoring. CrossRef Full Text. Briggs, G. Patterns of hand preference in a student population. Cortex 11, — Butterworth, B. Chomsky, N. Three factors in language design. Clahsen, H. The time course of morphological processing in a second language. Second Lang. Coulson, S. Expect the unexpected: event-related brain response to morphosyntactic violations.

Domain-general inhibition areas of the brain are involved in language switching: fmri evidence from trilingual speakers. NeuroImage 90, — Donchin, E. Is the p component a manifestation of context updating? Brain Sci. El Yagoubi, R. Neural correlates of Italian nominal compounds and potential impacts of headedness effect: an ERP study. Friederici, A. The time course of syntactic activation during language processing: a model based on neuropsychological and neurophysiological data.

Brain Lang. Boller and J. Grafman Amsterdam: Elsevier Science , — Conceptual composition: the role of relational competition in the comprehension of modifier-noun phrases and noun-noun compounds. Gunter, T.

Syntactic gender and semantic expectancy: erps reveal early autonomy and late interaction. Haznedar, B. Doctoral dissertation, Durham University, Durham. Reading finnish compound words: eye fixations are affected by component morphemes. Jarema, G. Libben and G. Jarema Oxford: OUP , 45— Processing compounds: a cross-linguistic study.

Juhasz, B. The effects of morphology on the processing of compound words: evidence from lexical decision, naming, and eye fixations. Kaan, E. Event-related potentials and language processing. Compass 1, — Cahiers de grammaire , 17 , 25— Costello, F. Schunn Eds. Mahwah: Erlbaum. Diesendruck, G. How specific is the shape bias? Child Development , 74 , — Downing, P. On the creation and use of English compound nouns.

Language , 53 4 , — Dressler, W. How does a child detect morphology? Evidence from production. Schreuder Eds. First language acquisition of compounds: with special emphasis on early German child language. Vogel Eds. Elbers, L. Journal of Child Language , 15 3 , — Production as a source of input for analysis: evidence from the developmental course of a word-blend. Journal of Child Language , 22 1 , 47— First Language , 12 36 , — Elsen, H.

Word-formation in first language acquisition. Ohnheiser, S. Rainer Eds. Fletcher, P. Language development and language impairment: a problem-based introduction. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell. Fradin, B. Nouvelles approches en morphologie. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. Gelman, S. Baer Eds. Gentner, D. Metaphor as structure mapping: the relational shift. Child Development , 59 , 47— Gottfried, G. Comprehending compounds: evidence for metaphoric skill?

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Basic level object categories support the acquisition of novel adjectives: evidence from preschool-aged children. Child Development , 71 3 , — Koester, D. Prosody in parsing morphologically complex words: neurophysiological evidence.

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Cognitive Neuropsychology. Special Issue: Mental processing of compound words , 31 1—2 , — Krott, A. The role of analogy for compound words. Blevins Eds.

Large constituent families help children parse compounds. Journal of Child Language , 32 , — Journal of Child Language , 36 , 85— Journal of Child Language , 37 2 , — Kuperman, V. Reading polymorphemic Dutch compounds: toward a multiple route model of lexical processing. Landau, B. The importance of shape in early lexical learning. Cognitive Development , 3 , — Libben, G.

The nature of compounds: a psychocentric perspective. Lynott, D. Embodied conceptual combination. Frontiers in Psychology , 1 , 1— Familiarity and creativity in novel compound production. Bara, L. Bucciarelli Eds. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum. Marelli, M. Frequency effects in the processing of Italian nominal compounds: modulation of headedness and semantic transparency.

Journal of Memory and Language , 66 4 , — Matthews, P. Morphology: an introduction to the theory of word-structure. Mellenius, I. The acquisition of nominal compounding in Swedish. Doctoral dissertation. Lund: Lund University Press. Naigles, L. Introduction: perspectives on child language. Ngon, C. Non words, non words, non words: evidence for a protolexicon during the first year of life. Developmental Science , 16 1 , 24— Nicoladis, E. What compound nouns mean to preschool children. Brain and Language , 84 1 , 38— When level-ordering is not used in the formation of English compounds.

First Language , 25 3 , — Jarema Eds. Rainer, F. Studying restrictions on patterns of word-formation by means of the Internet. Rivista di Linguistica , 15 1 , — Can relational adjectives really express any relation? An onomasiological perspective. Remez, R.

Analogy and disanalogy in production and perception of speech. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience , 30 3 , — Roll, M. A neurolinguistic study of South Swedish word accents: electrical brain potentials in nouns and verbs. Nordic Journal of Linguistics , 38 2 , — Semenza, C. Compound words in neuropsychology. Linguistiche Berichte , 17 , — Thiessen, E. Statistical learning. Tschichold, C. Word-formation in second language acquisition. Vosniadou, S. Children and metaphors. Child Development , 58 3 , — Waxman, S. Are nouns learned before verbs?

Infants provide insight into a long-standing debate. Child Development Perspectives , 7 3 , — Weisberg, R. Creativity and knowledge: a challenge to theories. Sternberg Ed. The question then arises as to how far compound sequences are analysed at each encounter and how far they are stored in the brain as single lexical items. The nature and processing of compounds thus offer an unusually direct route to how language operates in the mind, as well as providing the means of investigating important aspects of morphology and lexical semantics, and insights to child language acquisition and the organization of the mental lexicon.

The book reports on the state of the art in these and other central topics, including the classification and typology of compounds, and approaches to cross-linguistic research on the subject from generative and non-generative, and synchronic and diachronic perspectives. Keywords: psycholinguistics , compound sequences , single lexical items , compounds , compounding , morphology , lexical semantics , child language acquisition , mental lexicon , cross-linguistic research.

Her interests include morphological theory, especially derivation and compounding, lexical semantics, and the morphology-syntax interface. His research has focused on an onomasiological approach to word-formation, sociolinguistic aspects of word-formation, meaning predictability of complex words, and crosslinguistic research into wotrd-formation.

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