The developing mental lexicon: Evidence from morphological priming of irregular Hebrew forms

Rachel Schiff, Michal Raveh, Shani Kahta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


This study investigated the development of automatic word recognition processes, in particular the development of the morphological level of processing. We examined masked priming of Hebrew irregular forms at two levels of reading experience. Both third- and seventh-grade children showed morphological priming for defective roots when primes and targets conformed to the canonical morphological structure, containing all three letters of the roots, and also when the surface form of the primes and targets contained only two of the root letters. However, priming was not observed when primes and targets did not overlap in the surface form of the roots, i.e. the full three-letter root as prime and only two root letters in the target. These results suggest that both tri- and bi-consonantal representations of defective roots exist in the mental lexicon of young readers. The formation of interconnections between these allomorphic representations, however, requires more extensive reading experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-743
Number of pages25
JournalReading and Writing
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This research was supported by the Haddad Center for Research in Dyslexia, School of Education, Bar-Ilan University. We thank Prof. Ram Frost and Hadas Velan of the Hebrew University for their contribution to the design of this study.


  • Development
  • Mental lexicon
  • Morphological priming
  • Morphological processing
  • Word recognition


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