Conflicting cues and competition between notional and grammatical factors in producing number and gender agreement: Evidence from Hebrew

Avital Deutsch*, Maya Dank

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study investigated the process of producing subject-predicate agreement for conceptually driven distinctions which are morphologically specified, such as natural gender and number, and arbitrary morphological specification of gender and number. The study was conducted in Hebrew, in which agreement rules are very prevalent and include both gender and number agreement between the subject and the predicate. This feature of Hebrew makes it possible to directly compare processes within one language and to better generalize the findings across languages. Using a sentence completion task for complex noun phrases, we tested the effect of conceptual versus grammatical features of the number (Exp. 1 and 2) and gender (Exp. 3 and 4) of the local (Exp.1 and 3) and head (Exp. 2 and 4) nouns on the probability of agreement errors in producing the predicate. The results revealed that the notional meaning of the local noun does not affect the frequency of producing agreement errors although, with almost the same set of stimuli, manipulation of the notional meaning of the head noun does affect this frequency. These results are discussed in connection with Bock et al.'s [Bock, K., Eberhard, K., M., Cutting, J. C., Meyer, A. S., & Schriefers, H. (2001). Some attractions of verb agreement. Cognitive Psychology, 43, 83-128] two-mechanism model for the implementation of agreement.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)112-143
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Volume60
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2009

Keywords

  • Attraction errors
  • Number and gender agreement

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