Morphological complexity in reading and in definition of words by Brazilian Portuguese speaking children.

Morphological complexity in reading and in definition of words by Brazilian Portuguese speaking children.

First Author: Fraulein Vidigal de Paula -- Universidade de São Paulo
Additional authors/chairs: 
Julia Maria Migot ; Gabriela Mendonça de Macedo
Keywords: Fluency, Word reading, Vocabulary, Morphology, Morphological processing
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: to investigate the role of morphology in lexical processing and in reading speed words by Brazilian children. Recent studies have highlighted that most words in Portuguese is posted and, that besides graph-phonic relations, the graph-morphological dimension also has a role in word reading of this language and understanding of their meanings. However, we know little about how morphology facilitates or which aspects are most prominent in reading and words meaning extraction. Method: these issues are discussed in light of two cross-sectional studies. In the first one, 98 children from four different school years of elementary school read aloud a list of 72 items, divided into four categories: posted words, pseudo-displayed words; neologisms with affixes; pseudo-posted pseudowords, including items with prefix or suffix. The application was individual with audio recorded and the reading times of the four categories of items were analyzed. In the second one, 66 children from three different school years were asked to define, verbally and individually, a list of 22 words posted by prefix or suffix. Responses were categorized into three score levels. Results: speed reading of affixed words was higher than other items. Children scored better in the definition of suffixed words than of prefixed. An effect of school experience was observed in both studies. Conclusions: partially consistent way with national and international literature, the results suggest that the morphological structure of words influences word reading speed and the type of affix affects the extraction of the meaning of words in Portuguese. Methodological implications for further studies are discussed.