Compound words are decomposed regardless of semantic transparency and grammatical class: An fMRI study in Persian

Mohammad Momenian, Narges Radman, Hossein Rafipoor, Mojtaba Barzegar, Brendan Weekes

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Processing of morphologically complex words in the brain is a sophisticated phenomenon. In this study, we asked whether the semantic transparency of compound words and their grammatical class played a role in their processing at the neural level in Persian, a language with a relatively productive system of morphological compounding. Twenty-eight native speakers of Persian performed an auditory task during fast-sparse fMRI. Combined univariate and multivariate analyses showed that all compound words were processed similarly regardless of their semantic transparency and grammatical class. Our findings partially support those approaches that claim semantic transparency is a property of processing, not representation. We contend that language-specific properties such as linguistic productivity and task-related manipulations are very important in modulating morphological processing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103120
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Auditory
  • Compound
  • fMRI
  • Persian
  • Semantic transparency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this