Morphological paradigms in language processing and language disorders

Harald Clahsen, Ingrid Sonnenstuhl, Meike Hadler, and Sonja Eisenbeiss

Transactions of the Philological Society 99 (2001), 247-278

  We present results from two cross-modal morphological priming experiments investigating regular person and number inflection on finite verbs in German. We found asymmetries in the priming patterns between different affixes that can be predicted from the structure of the paradigm. We also report data from language disorders which indicate that inflectional errors produced by language-impaired adults and children tend to occur within a given paradigm dimension, rather than randomly across the paradigm. We conclude that morphological paradigms are used by the human language processor and can be systematically affected in language disorders.