La Is Better than el: The Role of Regularity and Lexical Familiarity in Noun Phrase Production by Young Spanish-Speaking Children

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/193850
Title:
La Is Better than el: The Role of Regularity and Lexical Familiarity in Noun Phrase Production by Young Spanish-Speaking Children
Author:
Lindsey, Brittany Anne
Issue Date:
2009
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © 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.
Abstract:
Language production involves two stages of lexical retrieval with a word’s lemma (meaning, syntax) accessed before its lexeme (form). Adult speakers of gendered languages are said to access gender via the lemma (Vigliocco, Antonini and Garrett, 1997). However, presenting gender incongruous distractors during picture naming does not produce interference for Spanish speakers (Costa, Sebastián-Gallés, Miozzo & Caramazza, 1999; O’Rourke, 2007). Spanish demonstrates predictability between determiner gender and noun form: 96.3% of nouns ending in /a/ are feminine, taking the definite determiner la, and 99.87% of nouns ending in /o/ are masculine, preceded by el (Teschner & Russell 1984). Morphophonological regularity might allow Spanish speakers to bypass lemma-level gender. This dissertation addressed the question of whether young children learning Spanish access gender with the lemma of individual words, utilize language-specific morphophonological regularities alone, or use a combination of lexical familiarity and morphophonological regularity. This was tested in an elicited imitation task manipulating lexical status, congruity and gender. Spanish-English bilingual children (2;0-4;0) and Spanish-speaking adults repeated Spanish words and non-words preceded by gender congruous and incongruous definite articles. If children access gender with lemmas, children should omit fewer articles for words vs. non-words in congruous (el libro-them bookm) versus incongruous conditions (la libro-thef bookm). If children use morphophonological patterns, words should show no advantage; however, children should omit fewer feminine than masculine 12 articles in congruous (la f fupa f) versus incongruous conditions (elm fupa f) since feminine is more regular than masculine. Alternately, if lexical familiarity and morphophonological regularity play a role, children should omit fewer articles for words than non-words and fewer feminine than masculine articles in congruous versus incongruous conditions. The results suggest that children, like adults, use both lexical familiarity and morphophonological regularity to produce determiner-stem sequences. Words exerted an influence, but only in processing efficiency while regularity affected patterns for both words and non-words. Unlike adults, for children regularity was preferred over distributional frequency and lexical familiarity was only advantageous if familiar words demonstrated regular feminine morphology. The data suggest that children use language specific input statistics from early in language production and, additionally, provide evidence for developmental processing strategies.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
article; child; gender; noun phrase; production; Spanish
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Second Language Acquisition & Teaching; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Gerken, LouAnn
Committee Chair:
Gerken, LouAnn

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleLa Is Better than el: The Role of Regularity and Lexical Familiarity in Noun Phrase Production by Young Spanish-Speaking Childrenen_US
dc.creatorLindsey, Brittany Anneen_US
dc.contributor.authorLindsey, Brittany Anneen_US
dc.date.issued2009en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.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.en_US
dc.description.abstractLanguage production involves two stages of lexical retrieval with a word’s lemma (meaning, syntax) accessed before its lexeme (form). Adult speakers of gendered languages are said to access gender via the lemma (Vigliocco, Antonini and Garrett, 1997). However, presenting gender incongruous distractors during picture naming does not produce interference for Spanish speakers (Costa, Sebastián-Gallés, Miozzo & Caramazza, 1999; O’Rourke, 2007). Spanish demonstrates predictability between determiner gender and noun form: 96.3% of nouns ending in /a/ are feminine, taking the definite determiner la, and 99.87% of nouns ending in /o/ are masculine, preceded by el (Teschner & Russell 1984). Morphophonological regularity might allow Spanish speakers to bypass lemma-level gender. This dissertation addressed the question of whether young children learning Spanish access gender with the lemma of individual words, utilize language-specific morphophonological regularities alone, or use a combination of lexical familiarity and morphophonological regularity. This was tested in an elicited imitation task manipulating lexical status, congruity and gender. Spanish-English bilingual children (2;0-4;0) and Spanish-speaking adults repeated Spanish words and non-words preceded by gender congruous and incongruous definite articles. If children access gender with lemmas, children should omit fewer articles for words vs. non-words in congruous (el libro-them bookm) versus incongruous conditions (la libro-thef bookm). If children use morphophonological patterns, words should show no advantage; however, children should omit fewer feminine than masculine 12 articles in congruous (la f fupa f) versus incongruous conditions (elm fupa f) since feminine is more regular than masculine. Alternately, if lexical familiarity and morphophonological regularity play a role, children should omit fewer articles for words than non-words and fewer feminine than masculine articles in congruous versus incongruous conditions. The results suggest that children, like adults, use both lexical familiarity and morphophonological regularity to produce determiner-stem sequences. Words exerted an influence, but only in processing efficiency while regularity affected patterns for both words and non-words. Unlike adults, for children regularity was preferred over distributional frequency and lexical familiarity was only advantageous if familiar words demonstrated regular feminine morphology. The data suggest that children use language specific input statistics from early in language production and, additionally, provide evidence for developmental processing strategies.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectarticleen_US
dc.subjectchilden_US
dc.subjectgenderen_US
dc.subjectnoun phraseen_US
dc.subjectproductionen_US
dc.subjectSpanishen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineSecond Language Acquisition & Teachingen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorGerken, LouAnnen_US
dc.contributor.chairGerken, LouAnnen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGerken, LouAnnen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberNicol, Janeten_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGomez, Rebeccaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGarrett, Merrillen_US
dc.identifier.proquest10502en_US
dc.identifier.oclc752260918en_US
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