Processing reduced word forms: The suffix restoration effect

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Listeners cannot recognize highly reduced word forms in isolation, but they can do so when these forms are presented in context (Ernestus, Baayen, & Schreuder, 2002). This suggests that not all possible surface forms of words have equal status in the mental lexicon. The present study shows that the reduced forms are linked to the canonical representations in the mental lexicon, and that these latter representations induce reconstruction processes. Listeners restore suffixes that are partly or completely missing in reduced word forms. A series of phoneme-monitoring experiments reveals the nature of this restoration: the basis for suffix restoration is mainly phonological in nature, but orthography has an influence as well.

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