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ERIC Number: EJ811257
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 28
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
ISSN: ISSN-0267-6583
Morphological Variability in the Comprehension of Agreement: An Argument for Representation over Computation
McCarthy, Corrine
Second Language Research, v24 n4 p459-486 2008
Previous accounts of morphological variability disagree over whether its cause is representational or computational in nature. Under a computational account, variability is confined to production; under a representational account, variability extends to comprehension and is qualitatively similar to variability in production. This article presents experimental evidence from the comprehension and production of gender and number agreement in second language (L2) Spanish clitics and adjectives. Intermediate-level participants show variability across comprehension and production; across tasks, masculine defaults are adopted. Advanced-level participants show less variability, although evidence for masculine defaults emerges across tasks. Number agreement proved relatively unproblematic, except in the production of adjective agreement where singular defaults are systematically adopted by intermediate- and advanced-level speakers. The qualitative similarity of variability across comprehension and production supports a representational account; however, previous research disfavours an account based in syntactic deficits. This article argues for a theory of morphological variability that places the representational cause in the morphology, rather than the syntax. (Contains 5 tables, 1 figure, and 6 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A