A1 Journal article – refereed
Syllables and inflectional morphemes in early Finnish readers: evidence from eye-movements

List of Authors: Tuomo Häikiö, Seppo Vainio
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Place: Cambridge
Publication year: 2018
Journal: Journal of Child Language
Journal name in source: Journal of Child Language
Volume number: 45
Issue number: 5
ISSN: 0305-0009
eISSN: 1469-7602


Finnish is a language with simple syllable structure but rich
morphology. It was investigated whether syllables or morphemes are
preferred processing units in early reading. To this end, Finnish first-
and second-grade children read sentences with embedded inflected target
words while their eye-movements were registered. The target words were
either in essive or inessive/adessive (i.e., locative) case. The target
words were either non-hyphenated, or had syllable-congruent or
syllable-incongruent hyphenation. For the locatives, the
syllable-incongruent hyphenation coincided with the morpheme boundary,
but this was not the case for the essives. It was shown that the
second-graders were slowed down by hyphenation to a larger extent than
first-graders. However, there was no slowdown in gaze duration for
either age group when the syllable-incongruent hyphen was
morpheme-congruent. These findings suggest that Finnish readers already
utilize morpheme-level information during the first grade.

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Last updated on 2019-20-07 at 14:30