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Agreement attraction in Spanish comprehension

  • Previous studies have found that English speakers experience attraction effects when comprehending subject-verb agreement, showing eased processing of ungrammatical sentences that contain a syntactically unlicensed but number-matching noun. In four self-paced reading experiments we examine whether attraction effects also occur in Spanish, a language where agreement morphology is richer and functionally more significant. We find that despite having a richer morphology, Spanish speakers show reliable attraction effects in comprehension, and that these effects are strikingly similar to those previously found in English in their magnitude and distributional profile. Further, we use distributional analyses to argue that cue-based memory retrieval is used as an error-driven mechanism in comprehension. We suggest that cross-linguistic similarities in agreement attraction result from speakers deploying repair or error-driven mechanisms uniformly across languages. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Author details:Sol Lago, Diego E. Shalom, Mariano Sigman, Ellen F. Lau, Colin Phillips
Title of parent work (English):Journal of memory and language
Place of publishing:San Diego
Publication type:Article
Year of first publication:2015
Completion year:2015
Release date:2017/03/27
Tag:Agreement attraction; Number morphology; Sentence comprehension; Spanish
Page number:17
First page:133
Last Page:149
Funding institution:NSF grant [BCS-0848554]
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Strukturbereich Kognitionswissenschaften / Department Linguistik
Peer review:Referiert
Institution name at the time of the publication:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Linguistik / Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft