Taħdita dwar il-Malti mill-Prof. Adam Ussishkin

Nhar il-Ħamis 25 ta’ April, il-Prof. Adam Ussishkin mill-Università ta’ Arizona se jagħti taħdita dwar il-Malti. It-taħdita jisimha Wait, so just how Semitic is Maltese? Evidence from priming, u se tkun bl-Ingliż. Tibda fit-3pm u se ssir fil-kamra OH116, fl-Università ta’ Malta.

Il-Prof. Ussishkin jinteressawh l-iżjed il-lingwi Semitiċi, speċjalment il-Malti u l-Ebrajk Modern. Fit-taħdita se jirreferi għal tliet esperimenti li għamel b’rabta mal-Malti u l-kliem Semitiku, u se jiddiskuti kif il-metodoloġija psikolingwistika tal-priming tista’ tixħet dawl fuq l-istruttura u l-organizzazzjoni tal-kliem u fuq kif il-kelliema nattivi jagħrfuh.

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Wait, so just how Semitic is Maltese? Evidence from priming
Adam Ussishkin, University of Arizona
Maltese, an outlier variety of North African Arabic, is well known for its hybrid lexicon that is split roughly evenly between Semitic and Indo-European. Given this split, do native speakers organize their Semitic lexicon using Semitic primitives? In this talk, I address this question by using priming, a psycholinguistic methodology that can shine light on the structure and organization of the lexicon and how native speakers access it during real-time word recognition.
Prior work in both the visual and auditory modalities reveals a consistent effect of morphological priming in Semitic languages. In general, target words are faster to be recognized when primed by a different word sharing the same triconsonantal root morpheme (Hebrew: Frost et al. 1997 et seq; Arabic: Boudelaa and Marslen-Wilson 2001 et seq). While these studies have typically been taken as clear evidence for a level of morphological structure in lexical representations, they have also left open alternative interpretations based either on semantic or form-based factors. Here, I explore these alternatives in a series of experiments on Maltese.
In Experiment 1, I show using auditory masked priming that Maltese native speakers are faster to recognize a spoken Semitic word when it is primed by a different Semitic word sharing the same root morpheme, even when the prime is not consciously perceived. In Experiment 2, I show that no such facilitation effects are observed when Semitic words of Maltese are primed by non-Semitic words sharing the same consonants, and vice versa, thus challenging the form-based alternative to the morphological explanation. In Experiment 3 I turn to the visual modality and show that the recognition of Semitic words of Maltese is facilitated by primes consisting of just the three root letters of the target, but no such effect is observed when the same three letters are used to prime non-Semitic words. Finally, I discuss ongoing work in which the semantic alternative is explored, and show that morphological priming effects may involve early access to semantics during the process of lexical access.

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