A1 Journal article – refereed
Cascaded processing in written compound word production

List of Authors: Bertram R, Tonnessen FE, Stromqvist S, Hyona J, Niemi P
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
Publication year: 2015
Journal: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
Journal acronym: FRONT HUM NEUROSCI
Volume number: 9
ISSN: 1662-5161
eISSN: 1662-5161


In this study we investigated the intricate interplay between central linguistic processing and peripheral motor processes during typewriting. Participants had to typewrite two-constituent (noun-noun) Finnish compounds in response to picture presentation while their typing behavior was registered. As dependent measures we used writing onset time to assess what processes were completed before writing and inter-key intervals to assess what processes were going on during writing. It was found that writing onset time was determined by whole word frequency rather than constituent frequencies, indicating that compound words are retrieved as whole orthographic units before writing is initiated. In addition, we found that the length of the first syllable also affects writing onset time, indicating that the first syllable is fully prepared before writing commences. The inter-key interval results showed that linguistic planning is not fully ready before writing, but cascades into the motor execution phase. More specifically, inter-key intervals were largest at syllable and morpheme boundaries, supporting the view that additional linguistic planning takes place at these boundaries. Bigram and trigram frequency also affected inter-key intervals with shorter intervals corresponding to higher frequencies. This can be explained by stronger memory traces for frequently co-occurring letter sequences in the motor memory for typewriting. These frequency effects were even larger in the second than in the first constituent, indicating that low-level motor memory starts to become more important during the course of writing compound words. We discuss our results in the light of current models of morphological processing and written word production.

Last updated on 2019-29-01 at 11:18