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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, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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