AuthorGollan, Tamar Hela, 1968-
AdvisorGarrett, Merrill F.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAccess to grammatical gender in Hebrew was examined using gender decisions, lexical decision, two-word lexical decision, and grammaticality judgments (with noun-adjective pairs, noun-verb phrases, and plural noun-plural adjective pairs). In the gender decision task, the role of word-form was dramatic. Nouns with an explicit gender marker (regular feminine) were classified most easily, and next were nouns in the default gender (unmarked masculine). In contrast, exception nouns (unmarked feminine nouns) produced extremely slow RTs and unusually high error rates. These same exception nouns, however, produced radically different results when syntactic context was provided; in the detection of gender agreement (i.e., "yes" decisions in grammaticality judgments) exception nouns did not produce longer RTs, and also error rates were not higher than those for regular nouns. In contrast, there was a strong effect of regularity in the detection of gender agreement violation (i.e., "no" decisions in grammaticality judgments). This same pattern replicated even when all elements of the phrase were explicitly marked (i.e., plurals grammaticality judgments), and also in the context of a task that placed both grammatical and ungrammatical pairs in the context of the same decision type. Because comprehension tasks necessarily begin with the analysis of word-forms where gender-marking regularity is most conspicuous, it is suggested that the results provide very strong evidence in favor of modular access mechanisms to lemma and lexeme representations. It is further suggested that access to the mental lexicon does not provide conscious access to grammatical gender. Efficient access is available only when the syntactic processor is invoked, and this processor does not rely on regularity at the word-form level. Without a syntactic context grammatical gender is retrieved through a variety of strategies and heuristics. Finally, it appears that gender-marking regularity does play a role in post-lexical processing mechanisms that are designed to detect grammaticality violations, and the latter mechanisms, as well as syntactic processing itself, cannot be suppressed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College