ERIC Number: EJ850415
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 51
Sensitivity to Violations of Gender Agreement in Native and Nonnative Spanish: An Eye-Movement Investigation
Keating, Gregory D.
Language Learning, v59 n3 p503-535 Sep 2009
This article reports the results of an eye-tracking experiment that investigated the effects of structural distance on readers' sensitivity to violations of Spanish gender agreement during online sentence comprehension. The study tracked the eye movements of native Spanish speakers and English-speaking learners of Spanish as they read sentences that contained nouns modified by postnominal adjectives located in three syntactic domains: (a) in the DP, (b) in the VP, or (c) in a subordinate clause. In half of the sentences in each condition, adjectives agreed with the noun in gender, and in half, they did not. The results indicate that gender agreement is acquirable in adulthood, contra the failed functional features hypothesis, and that the distance that separates nouns and adjectives affects the detection of gender anomalies in the second language. The findings support Clahsen and Felser's (2006a) shallow structure hypothesis, as it pertains to morphological processing.
Descriptors: Sentences, Eye Movements, Nouns, Human Body, Spanish, Native Speakers, Grammar, English, Second Language Learning, Form Classes (Languages), Syntax, Linguistic Theory, Language Processing, Morphology (Languages)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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