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Languages 2016, 1(2), 13; doi:10.3390/languages1020013

Stem Formation in French Verbs: Structure, Rules, and Allomorphy

1
Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (UCBL), Villeurbanne 69622, France
2
Laboratoire sur le Langage, le Cerveau et la Cognition (L2C2, CNRS UMR5304), Bron 69675, France
3
Laboratoire Bases, Corpus, Langage (BCL, CNRS UMR7320), Nice 06357, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Usha Lakshmanan
Received: 11 July 2016 / Revised: 28 October 2016 / Accepted: 15 November 2016 / Published: 9 December 2016
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Abstract

Stem processing is an essential phase in word recognition. Most modern Romance languages, such as Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish, have three theme vowels that define verbal classes and stem formation. However, French verbal classes are not traditionally described in terms of theme vowels. In this work, stem formation from theme vowel and allomorphic processes was investigated in French verbs. Our aim was to define the verbal stem formation structure processed during mental lexicon access in French. We conducted a cross-modal experiment and a masked priming experiment on different French stem formation processes from the first and third classes. We compared morphology-related priming effects to full priming obtained through identity priming, as well as to no priming obtained through a control condition. Stems from the first and third classes with a theme vowel presented full priming, whereas stems from the third class with allomorphy presented partial priming in both experiments. Our results suggest root-based stem formation for French. Verbs are recognized through word decomposition into stem and inflectional suffixes, and stem processing is based on root, theme vowel, and allomorphic processes. These results support a single-mechanism model with full decomposition and pre-lexical access defined by morphological rules. View Full-Text
Keywords: stem; theme vowel; morphology; inflection; allomorphy; rules; structure; processing; representation; priming stem; theme vowel; morphology; inflection; allomorphy; rules; structure; processing; representation; priming
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Estivalet, G.L.; Meunier, F. Stem Formation in French Verbs: Structure, Rules, and Allomorphy. Languages 2016, 1, 13.

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