Hostname: page-component-cd4964975-xtmlv Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-03-27T11:44:33.813Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true



Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 October 2020

Marcus Taft*
UNSW Sydney
Junmin Li*
Zhejiang University City College
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Junmin Li, School of Foreign Languages, Zhejiang University City College, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. E-mail:


Monolingual English speakers and Chinese–English bilinguals were compared on their lexical decision performance in a masked priming experiment where the prime and target ended in the same embedded word. All primes were nonwords where the letters in addition to the embedded word did not form a morpheme (e.g., the sab of sabagree or the ple of plerough). The targets were of two types. In one condition they were prefixed words (as in sabagree–DISAGREE) and in the other they were nonprefixed words (as in plerough–THOROUGH). With an unrelated prime as the baseline, the native speakers showed priming for the prefixed words but not the nonprefixed words, whereas the nonnative speakers showed priming for both types of word. It was concluded from these results that nonnative speakers focus more on the individual letters of a complex word than do native speakers when reading, and the specific processing mechanisms that might underlie this are discussed.

Research Report
Open Practices
Open data
© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


The experiment in this article earned an Open Data badge for transparent practices. The materials are available at and



Andrews, S., & Lo, S. (2012). Not all skilled readers have cracked the code: Individual differences in masked form priming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 38, 152163.Google ScholarPubMed
Baayen, R. H., Davidson, D. J., & Bates, D. M. (2008). Mixed-effects modeling with crossed random effects for subjects and items. Journal of Memory and Language, 59, 390412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bertram, R., Schreuder, R., & Baayen, R. H. (2000). The balance of storage and computation in morphological processing: The role of word formation type, affixal homophony, and productivity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 26, 489511.Google Scholar
Beyersmann, E., Casalis, S., Ziegler, J. C., & Grainger, J. (2015). Language proficiency and morpho-orthographic segmentation. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 22, 10541061.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Beyersmann, E., Cavalli, E., Casalis, S., & Colé, P. (2016). Embedded stem priming effects in prefixed and suffixed pseudowords. Scientific Studies of Reading, 20, 220230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Beyersmann, E., Grainger, J., & Taft, M. (2020). Evidence for embedded word length effects in complex nonwords. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35, 235245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Beyersmann, E., Kezilas, Y., Coltheart, M., Castles, A., Ziegler, J. C., Taft, M., & Grainger, J. (2018). Taking the book from the bookshelf: Masked constituent priming effects in compound words and nonwords. Journal of Cognition, 1, 113.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Brysbaert, M. (2003). Bilingual visual word recognition: Evidence form masked phonological priming. In Kinoshita, S. & Lupker, S. J. (Eds.), Masked priming: The state of the art (pp. 323343). Psychology Press.Google Scholar
Davis, C. J. (2005). N-watch: A program for deriving neighborhood size and other psycholinguistic statistics. Behavior Research Methods, 37, 6570.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Diependaele, K., Duñabeitia, J. A., Morris, J., & Keuleers, E. (2011). Fast morphological effects in first and second language word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 64, 344358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Forster, K. I., & Veres, C. (1998). The prime lexicality effect: Form-priming as a function of prime awareness, lexical status, and discrimination difficulty. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 24, 498514.Google ScholarPubMed
Forster, K. I., & Forster, J. C. (2003). DMDX: A Windows display program with millisecond accuracy. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 35, 116124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grainger, J., & Beyersmann, E. (2017). Edge-aligned embedded word activation initiates morpho-orthographic segmentation. In Psychology of Learning and Motivation (Vol. 67, pp. 285317). Academic Press. Scholar
Hasenäcker, J., Beyersmann, E., & Schroeder, S. (2016). Masked morphological priming in German-speaking adults and children: Evidence from response time distributions. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 929.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Heathcote, L., Nation, K., Castles, A., & Beyersmann, E. (2018). Do “blacheap” and “subcheap” both prime “cheap”? An investigation of morphemic status and position in early visual word processing. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71, 16451654.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Heyer, V., & Clahsen, H. (2015). Late bilinguals see a scan in scanner AND in scandal: Dissecting formal overlap from morphological priming in the processing of derived words. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 18, 543550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kuznetsova, A., Brockhoff, P., & Christensen, R. (2014). ImerTest: Tests for random and fixed effects for linear mixed effect models . R package, version 2-03.Google Scholar
Li, J., & Taft, M. (2019). The processing of English prefixed words by Chinese-English bilinguals. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 42, 239249. Scholar
Li, J., Taft, M., & Xu, J. (2017). The processing of English derived words by Chinese-English bilinguals. Language Learning, 67, 858884.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Li, M., Jiang, N., & Gor, K. (2017). L1 and L2 processing of compound words: Evidence from masked priming experiments in English. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 20, 384402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Morris, J., Porter, J. H., Grainger, J., & Holcomb, P. J. (2011). Effects of lexical status and morphological complexity in masked priming: An ERP study. Language and Cognitive Processes, 26, 558599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Qiao, X., & Forster, K. I. (2017). Is the L2 lexicon different from the L1 lexicon? Evidence from novel word lexicalization. Cognition, 158, 147152.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rastle, K., & Brysbaert, M. (2006). Masked phonological priming effects in English: Are they real? Do they matter? Cognitive Psychology, 53, 97145.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rastle, K., & Davis, M. H. (2008). Morphological decomposition based on the analysis of orthography. Language and Cognitive Processes, 23, 942971.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schreuder, R., & Baayen, R. H. (1995). Modeling morphological processing. In Feldman, L. B. (Ed.), Morphological aspects of language processing (pp. 131154). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
Taft, M., & Ardasinski, S. (2006). Obligatory decomposition in reading prefixed words. The Mental Lexicon, 1, 183199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Taft, M., & Forster, K. I. (1975). Lexical storage and retrieval of prefixed words. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 14, 638647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Taft, M., Li, S., & Beyersmann, E. (2018). What cross-morphemic letter transposition in derived nonwords tells us about lexical processing. Journal of Cognition, 1, 36.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed