Capturing the effects of semantic transparency in word recognition: a cross-linguistic study on Cantonese and Persian

Mohammad Momenian, Shuk K. Cham, Jafar Mohammad Amini, Narges Radman, Brendan Weekes

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


An important question in psycholinguistics is whether or not the semantic transparency of words plays any role during the processing of compound words. Studies of different languages have produced mixed results suggesting that semantic properties of compounding do not have a universal effect. This paper uses masked priming at three different SOAs to study the possible effects of semantic transparency and grammatical class on processing of Persian and Cantonese compounds. We found priming effects in all types of compounds across both languages regardless of semantic transparency and grammatical class. Our findings revealed processing patterns which were unique to each language. We contend that compounding is a complex process influenced by the interactions among the unique properties of each language such as productivity, headedness, and the writing system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-624
Number of pages13
JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Cantonese
  • light verb construction
  • masked priming
  • Persian
  • semantic transparency
  • SOA
  • verb noun compound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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