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Abstract: Hebrew has a rich morphology in which most words are formed by interdigitating a three-consonant root into a vowel- and consonant-based word pattern. Morphological priming in Hebrew can occur in the absence of semantic similarity, supporting claims that explicit morphemic units mediate word recognition. From a distributed connectionist perspective, however, such priming effects can arise due to the pervasive morphological organization of the entire language (Plaut & Gonnerman, 1999, LCP). In addition, morphological priming in languages with rich morphologies may reflect learned sensitivity to the distributional characteristics among surface forms alone, irrespective of their meanings. Results from simulations trained on a 100-million-word corpus of written Hebrew suggest, however, that surface structure alone is insufficient to induce the necessary sensitivity to morphological structure. Rather, exposure to rich surface structure combined with broad distinctions in how such structure relates to meaning may be necessary for the system to learn the relevant morphological relationships among words.
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