The role of morphophonological regularity in young Spanish-speaking children's production of gendered noun phrases

Brittany A. Lindsey, Louann Gerken

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-776
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of child language
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Psychology(all)

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