The interface between morphology and phonology: Exploring a morpho-phonological deficit in spoken production

Ariel M. Cohen-Goldberg, Joana Cholin, Michele Miozzo, Brenda Rapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Morphological and phonological processes are tightly interrelated in spoken production. During processing, morphological processes must combine the phonological content of individual morphemes to produce a phonological representation that is suitable for driving phonological processing. Further, morpheme assembly frequently causes changes in a word's phonological well-formedness that must be addressed by the phonology. We report the case of an aphasic individual (WRG) who exhibits an impairment at the morpho-phonological interface. WRG was tested on his ability to produce phonologically complex sequences (specifically, coda clusters of varying sonority) in heteromorphemic and tautomorphemic environments. WRG made phonological errors that reduced coda sonority complexity in multimorphemic words (e.g., passed. →. [pæstId]) but not in monomorphemic words (e.g., past). WRG also made similar insertion errors to repair stress clash in multimorphemic environments, confirming his sensitivity to cross-morpheme well-formedness. We propose that this pattern of performance is the result of an intact phonological grammar acting over the phonological content of morphemic representations that were weakly joined because of brain damage. WRG may constitute the first case of a morpho-phonological impairment-these results suggest that the processes that combine morphemes constitute a crucial component of morpho-phonological processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-286
Number of pages17
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Aphasia
  • Grammar
  • Markedness
  • Morpho-phonology
  • Production
  • Sonority
  • Stress
  • Well-formedness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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