ERIC Number: EJ941260
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 29
Pairing Words with Syntactic Frames: Syntax, Semantics, and Count-Mass Usage
Raymond, William D.; Healy, Alice F.; McDonnel, Samantha J.
Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, v40 n5-6 p327-349 Dec 2011
Two experiments examined English speakers' choices of count or mass compatible frames for nouns varying in imageability (concrete, abstract) and noun class (count, mass). Pairing preferences with equative ("much/many") and non-equative ("less/fewer") constructions were compared for groups of teenagers, young adults, and older adults. Deviations from normative usage were, for all ages, larger for count than for mass nouns, for the non-equative than for the equative construction, and for abstract count than for concrete count nouns. These results indicate that mass syntax is not a developmental default, support proposals that mass syntax is more flexible than count syntax, verify the non-prescriptive use of less with count nouns, and extend the interaction of syntax and semantics in noun classification to older ages, with older adults showing a reduced reliance on semantics. Knowledge of frame compatibility and knowledge of noun class are also shown to be largely independent.
Descriptors: Semantics, Nouns, Syntax, Young Adults, Language Usage, English, Comparative Analysis, Adolescents, Classification, Age Differences, Psycholinguistics, Language Research
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A