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ERIC Number: EJ869941
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Feb
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Experience and Grammatical Agreement: Statistical Learning Shapes Number Agreement Production
Haskell, Todd R.; Thornton, Robert; MacDonald, Maryellen C.
Cognition, v114 n2 p151-164 Feb 2010
A robust result in research on the production of grammatical agreement is that speakers are more likely to produce an erroneous verb with phrases such as "the key to the cabinets", with a singular noun followed by a plural one, than with phrases such as "the keys to the cabinet", where a plural noun is followed by a singular. These asymmetries are thought to reflect core language production processes. Previous accounts have attributed error patterns to a syntactic number feature present on plurals but not singulars. An alternative approach is presented in which a process similar to structural priming contributes to the error asymmetry via speakers' past experiences with related agreement constructions. A corpus analysis and two agreement production studies test this account. The results suggest that agreement production is shaped by statistical learning from past language experience. Implications for accounts of agreement are discussed. (Contains 3 tables and 2 figures.)
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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