Studies on morphological processing in French, as in other languages, have shown disparate results. We argue that a critical and long-overlooked factor that could underlie these diverging results is the methodological differences in the calculation of morphological variables across studies. To address the need for a common morphological database, we present MorphoLex-FR, a sizeable and freely available database with 12 variables for prefixes, roots, and suffixes for the 38,840 words of the French Lexicon Project. MorphoLex-FR constitutes a first step to render future studies addressing morphological processing in French comparable. The procedure we used for morphological segmentation and variable computation is effectively the same as that in MorphoLex, an English morphological database. This will allow for cross-linguistic comparisons of future studies in French and English that will contribute to our understanding of how morphologically complex words are processed. To validate these variables, we explored their influence on lexical decision latencies for morphologically complex nouns in a series of hierarchical regression models. The results indicated that only morphological variables related to the suffix explained lexical decision latencies. The frequency and family size of the suffix exerted facilitatory effects, whereas the percentage of more frequent words in the morphological family of the suffix was inhibitory. Our results are in line with previous studies conducted in French and in English. In conclusion, this database represents a valuable resource for studies on the effect of morphology in visual word processing in French.
Keywords: Database; French; Lexical decision; Morphology; Psycholinguistic variables; Visual word recognition.