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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2000, Vol. 31, No. 4, Pages 609-648
(doi: 10.1162/002438900554497)
© 2000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Mental Representation of Semitic Words
Article PDF (186.71 KB)

This article is concerned with external evidence bearing on the nature of the units stored in the mental lexicons of speakers of Semitic languages. On the basis of aphasic metathesis errors we collected in a single case study, we suggest that roots can be accessed as independent morphological units. We review documented language games and slips of the tongue that lead to the same conclusion. We also discuss evidence for the morphemic status of templates from aphasic errors, language games, and slips of the tongue. We conclude that the available external evidence is best accounted for within a morpheme-based theory of morphology that forms words by combining roots and templates.