AffiliationUniversity of Arizona
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PublisherUniversity of Arizona Linguistics Circle
JournalCoyote Papers: Working Papers in Linguistics, Linguistic Theory at the University of Arizona
AbstractPrevious research in syntactic gender congruency effects has indicated that German and Dutch speakers exhibited priming effects in the production of noun phrases (La Heij, Mak, Sander & Willeboordse 1998; Schriefers 1993; Schriefers & Teruel 2000), whereas speakers of Spanish and Italian showed no such effects (Miozzo & Caramazza 1999; Costa, Sebastián-Gallés, Miozzo & Caramazza 1999). Until recently, the production of bare nouns had only been examined in Dutch (La Heij, et al. 1998) and no effect was found. It was concluded that gender information is only accessed when specifically required for the selection of agreement morphemes. Cubelli, Lotto, Paolieri, Girelli, and Job (2005), however, found an inhibitory gender congruency effect for bare noun production in Italian. The goal of the current experiment was to determine if such an effect could be elicited in Spanish. The current experiment examined the production of bare nouns and noun phrases (NPs) by native Spanish speakers within the picture-word interference paradigm, in which subjects named a picture accompanied by a distractor word which was either gender congruent or incongruent with the target. Congruency effects were determined by naming latencies. An analysis of the data showed that there was no gender congruency effect in bare noun production. Naming latencies in the two conditions were virtually identical (f (1,15) = 0.017, p < 0.90). In addition, separate analyses were performed on target words of each gender (masculine and feminine) and no gender specific effect was found. As predicted, there were no congruency effects for NP production. The fact that, in bare noun production, Spanish behaves like Dutch rather than Italian indicates that there is a critical difference between Spanish and Italian relating to gender access.