Table_2_Agreement With Conjoined NPs Reflects Language Experience.docx (86.31 kB)
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Table_2_Agreement With Conjoined NPs Reflects Language Experience.docx

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posted on 19.04.2018, 12:56 by Heidi Lorimor, Nora C. Adams, Erica L. Middleton

An important question within psycholinguistic research is whether grammatical features, such as number values on nouns, are probabilistic or discrete. Similarly, researchers have debated whether grammatical specifications are only set for individual lexical items, or whether certain types of noun phrases (NPs) also obtain number valuations at the phrasal level. Through a corpus analysis and an oral production task, we show that conjoined NPs can take both singular and plural verb agreement and that notional number (i.e., the numerosity of the referent of the subject noun phrase) plays an important role in agreement with conjoined NPs. In two written production tasks, we show that participants who are exposed to plural (versus singular or unmarked) agreement with conjoined NPs in a biasing story are more likely to produce plural agreement with conjoined NPs on a subsequent production task. This suggests that, in addition to their sensitivity to notional information, conjoined NPs have probabilistic grammatical specifications that reflect their distributional properties in language. These results provide important evidence that grammatical number reflects language experience, and that this language experience impacts agreement at the phrasal level, and not just the lexical level.