ERIC Number: ED421868
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Jun-21
Erroneous Feature Migration: Subject-Verb Agreement in French Using Linear Differences.
Garrott, Carl L.
This study addressed two questions concerning subject-verb agreement and erroneous feature migration in French second language learners: whether multiple or single token items elicit greater errors in subject-verb agreement, and whether linear distance increases errors in agreement. Empirical research suggests that a mismatch in number between subject and verb occurs when the head noun is not proximate to the verb, particularly when a singular subject is combined with intervening relative clauses ending in a plural noun. There is little empirical research to support this view for French. The current study, using 40 college-level French second-language learners, found that (1) the condition SS + relative pronoun + V + N(plural) has a higher subject-verb error rate than other conditions; plural nouns may transmit number to the nearest verb even if the head noun is singular; and (2) erroneous feature migration and linear distance do correlate in this population, and learners who use a left-to-right probabilistic model to compute agreement appear to commit more errors. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A