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Academic Paper


Title: The role of morphophonological regularity in young Spanish-speaking children's production of gendered noun phrases
Author: Brittany A. Lindsey
Institution: University of Arizona
Author: LouAnn Gerken
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.u.arizona.edu/~gerken/
Institution: University of Arizona
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Morphology; Phonology; Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: Spanish
Abstract: Adult Spanish speakers generally know which form a determiner preceding a noun should have even if the noun is not in their lexicon, because Spanish demonstrates high predictability between determiner form and noun form (la noun-a and el noun-o). We asked whether young children learning Spanish are similarly sensitive to the correlation of determiner and noun forms, or whether they initially learn determiner–noun pairings one-by-one. Spanish–English bilingual children and adults repeated Spanish words and non-words preceded by gender congruous and incongruous determiners. If children learn determiner–noun pairings one-by-one, they should show a gender congruity effect only for words. In contrast with this prediction, both children and adults demonstrated congruity effects for words and non-words, indicating sensitivity to correlated morphophonological forms. Furthermore, both age groups showed more facility in producing phrases with nouns ending in -a, which are more frequent and predictable from the preceding determiner.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 39, Issue 4.

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