AuthorAnton-Mendez, Maria Ines
AdvisorNicol, Janet L.
Garrett, 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.
AbstractThe main focus of this dissertation is the processing of agreement between a subject and predicative adjective in Spanish. The basic methodology often employed in experiments in the literature on subject-verb number agreement was used-participants saw an adjective and a sentence preamble consisting of a subject head noun and a prepositional modifier containing a second noun (attractor), and they had to complete the sentence by adding a verb and using the given adjective. Agreement errors in the gender and number of the adjective and in the number of the verb were analyzed. In the first experiment, the possible differences between two types of gender were studied. Spanish nouns can be divided into two types according to whether their gender has semantic import. Most nouns referring to animate beings possess gender specification at two levels-semantic and grammatical, while the rest possess gender only at a grammatical level, and this difference could be reflected in the agreement process. The results point to the fact that gender agreement is indeed sensitive to gender type. The second experiment investigated the relationship between gender and number agreement with the predicative adjective, and of number agreement between subject and verb, and subject and predicative adjective. The results indicate that processing of gender agreement is independent of processing of number agreement. They also indicate that the computation of number agreement between a single source (subject head) and different targets (verb and predicative adjective) is a single process, that is, that agreement with one of the targets is dependent on agreement with the other. In the third experiment, the effect of morphophonology on gender agreement was tested by manipulating the regularity of the nouns in the sentence preambles. The pattern of errors implies that the morphological properties of nouns with semantic gender does affect agreement, but not so the phonological properties of nouns with purely grammatical gender. Overall, the results of the three experiments are more compatible with a modular model of language production, as well as with a feature copying account of agreement implementation.
Degree ProgramGraduate College