Derivational morphology approached with event-related potentials

Jens Bölte, Bernadette M. Jansma, Anna Zilverstand, Pienie Zwitserlood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We investigated the processing of derived adjectives in German using event-related potentials (ERPs). ERPs were registered to existing adjectives freundlich, 'friendly'), to morphologically complex pseudowords that were synonymous to an existing adjective and thus interpretable (*freundhaft), and to complex pseudowords that were structurally and semantically anomalous (*freundbar). Stimuli were embedded in sentence contexts, displayed word by word. An ERP effect with a left-frontal maximum was observed around 450-500 ms after stimulus onset. In this window, both pseudoword types differed from existing adjectives. We interpret this data pattern as a LAN, reflecting structural problems due to morphological parsing, a process that is distinct from semantic processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-353
Number of pages18
JournalMental Lexicon
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Derivation
  • ERP
  • German
  • Morphology
  • Semantics
  • Visual word recognition


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