The mental representation of semitic words

Jean François Prunet, Renée Béland, Ali Idrissi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)


This article is concerned with external evidence bearing on the nature of the units stored in the mental lexicons of speakers of Semitic languages. On the basis of aphasic metathesis errors we collected in a single case study, we suggest that roots can be accessed as independent morphological units. We review documented language games and slips of the tongue that lead to the same conclusion. We also discuss evidence for the morphemic status of templates from aphasic errors, language games, and slips of the tongue. We conclude that the available external evidence is best accounted for within a morpheme-based theory of morphology that forms words by combining roots and templates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-648
Number of pages40
JournalLinguistic Inquiry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Aphasia
  • Metathesis
  • Morphology
  • Roots
  • Semitic
  • Templates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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