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Lexical Morphology: Structure, Process, and Development

Jarmulowicz, Linda; Taran, Valentina L.

doi: 10.1097/TLD.0b013e318280f5c0
Original Articles

Recent work has demonstrated the importance of derivational morphology to later language development and has led to a consensus that derivation is a lexical process. In this review, derivational morphology is discussed in terms of lexical representation models from both linguistic and psycholinguistic perspectives. Input characteristics, including types of frequency (lexical, surface, affix, and relative) and transparency (semantic, phonological, and orthographic), are examined as key factors that affect processing and acquisition. We introduce the possibility that lexical prosody and syllabic characteristics are relevant to lexical representation and affix separability, and we propose that derivational morphemes can emerge to different degrees in a system that is sensitive to both sound and meaning. Finally, morphological development with a focus on children's sensitivity to input characteristics is briefly reviewed, and we conclude with a perspective of how lexical representation can be a framework for derived word study in therapeutic or educational settings.

School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee (Drs Jarmulowicz and Taran); and Iris Speech Solutions, LLC, Arlington, Tennessee (Dr Taran).

Corresponding Author: Linda Jarmulowicz, PhD, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Memphis, 807 Jefferson Avenue, Memphis, TN 38105 (

This work was supported in part by the Center for Research Initiatives and Strategies for the Communicatively Impaired at the University of Memphis.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

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