Poster A46, Saturday, March 25, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Subliminal Speech Priming on Emirati verbs: an MEG investigation
Meera AlKaabi1, Kevin Schluter2, Alec Marantz3; 1United Arab Emirates University, 2New York University Abu Dhabi, 3New York University
Several behavioral studies on Modern Standard Arabic and Hebrew morphological processing employ psycholinguistic tasks that require determining whether a sequence of letters makes up a word or not. Most of the findings obtained from these studies provide evidence in support of the sensitivity of the processing system to the root and in some cases templates morphemes in these two Semitic languages. However, no evidence with such strength and consistency has been reported for root effects in spoken Arabic and even less so for template effects (Schluter, 2013). In this study we combine MEG (Magnetoencephalography) recordings with the subliminal speech priming technique (Kouider and Dupoux, 2005) that tests the earliest stages of auditory word recognition in Emirati Arabic (EA) verbal forms. In our design, we manipulate one experimental word target with four different prime types in auditory lexical decision: semantically-related, morphologically-related, identity, and control primes. In ROI analyses, the MEG results showed a significant identity priming effect in BAs 22 and 42 at 300-500 ms and 600-900 ms time intervals. The morphological and the semantic conditions showed lesser priming effects in BA21 (600-900 ms) and in BA22 (300- 500 ms), respectively. Moreover, the behavioral data showed significant priming for all three conditions. The overall results suggest that the consonantal root in EA is an independent lexical unit, a finding consistent with root-based models of Semitic morphology. Our results also showed that the subliminal speech priming technique is a promising way to explore unwritten dialects of Arabic.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Other