Effect of relation availability on the interpretation and access of familiar noun–noun compounds

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Two experiments investigate whether relations that link the constituents of compounds during compound formation (e.g., teapot is formed by combining tea and pot using the relation head noun FOR modifier) also influence the processing of familiar compounds. Although there is evidence for the use of such relations in forming compounds, whether such relations affect the processing of familiar compounds is unknown. The data show clear effects of repetition and relational priming for written words on both a sense-nonsense task and a lexical decision task. These results indicate that the relation linking the constituents of familiar compounds is important to their access and use.

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