La is better than el: The role of regularity and lexical familiarity in noun phrase production by young Spanish-speaking children.

More About This Textbook


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, Sebastian-Galles, 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-the m bookm) versus incongruous conditions (la libro-the f bookm). If children use morphophonological patterns, words should show no advantage; however, children should omit fewer feminine than masculine 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.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781109178395
  • Publisher: ProQuest LLC
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eTextbook
  • Pages: 242
  • File size: 721 KB

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)