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Representing number in the real-time processing of agreement: self-paced reading evidence from Arabic

Overview of attention for article published in Frontiers in Psychology, April 2015
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Title
Representing number in the real-time processing of agreement: self-paced reading evidence from Arabic
Published in
Frontiers in Psychology, April 2015
DOI 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00347
Pubmed ID
Authors

Matthew A. Tucker, Ali Idrissi, Diogo Almeida

Abstract

In the processing of subject-verb agreement, non-subject plural nouns following a singular subject sometimes "attract" the agreement with the verb, despite not being grammatically licensed to do so. This phenomenon generates agreement errors in production and an increased tendency to fail to notice such errors in comprehension, thereby providing a window into the representation of grammatical number in working memory during sentence processing. Research in this topic, however, is primarily done in related languages with similar agreement systems. In order to increase the cross-linguistic coverage of the processing of agreement, we conducted a self-paced reading study in Modern Standard Arabic. We report robust agreement attraction errors in relative clauses, a configuration not particularly conducive to the generation of such errors for all possible lexicalizations. In particular, we examined the speed with which readers retrieve a subject controller for both grammatical and ungrammatical agreeing verbs in sentences where verbs are preceded by two NPs, one of which is a local non-subject NP that can act as a distractor for the successful resolution of subject-verb agreement. Our results suggest that the frequency of errors is modulated by the kind of plural formation strategy used on the attractor noun: nouns which form plurals by suffixation condition high rates of attraction, whereas nouns which form their plurals by internal vowel change (ablaut) generate lower rates of errors and reading-time attraction effects of smaller magnitudes. Furthermore, we show some evidence that these agreement attraction effects are mostly contained in the right tail of reaction time distributions. We also present modeling data in the ACT-R framework which supports a view of these ablauting patterns wherein they are differentially specified for number and evaluate the consequences of possible representations for theories of grammar and parsing.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 32 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 1 3%
United States 1 3%
Netherlands 1 3%
Unknown 29 91%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 9 28%
Student > Master 8 25%
Researcher 3 9%
Lecturer 3 9%
Student > Doctoral Student 2 6%
Other 3 9%
Unknown 4 13%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Linguistics 14 44%
Psychology 5 16%
Unspecified 4 13%
Business, Management and Accounting 1 3%
Social Sciences 1 3%
Other 3 9%
Unknown 4 13%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 1. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 09 April 2015.
All research outputs
#10,127,437
of 11,411,446 outputs
Outputs from Frontiers in Psychology
#8,924
of 9,918 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#177,246
of 210,796 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Frontiers in Psychology
#406
of 443 outputs
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