The effects of word order on subject-verb and object-verb agreement: Evidence from Basque

Mikel Santesteban*, Martin J. Pickering, Holly P. Branigan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We report two experiments investigating subject verb and object verb agreement in Basque. Participants repeated and completed preambles containing singular or plural subjects and objects in sentences with canonical subject-object verb (SOV) or non-canonical object subject verb (OSV) order; in Experiment 2, they did so while remembering two unrelated words. Participants were equally likely to produce erroneous plural subject agreement following singular subjects and plural object agreement following singular objects. Additionally, both subject and object errors were more common for OSV than SOV sentences. However, the increase in errors from SOV to OSV sentences was greater for object agreement than for subject agreement: Participants produced more subject than object agreement errors in SOV sentences, but more object than subject agreement errors in OSV sentences. These findings suggest agreement encoding is affected by both overall sentential word order and proximity of agreeing elements; furthermore, encoding of object agreement involves similar processes to that of subject agreement. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-179
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Volume68
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

Keywords

  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Object-verb agreement
  • Word order
  • Speech errors
  • Sentence production
  • SENTENCE PRODUCTION
  • LANGUAGE PRODUCTION
  • CONSTITUENT STRUCTURE
  • GENDER AGREEMENT
  • NUMBER AGREEMENT
  • WORKING-MEMORY
  • ATTRACTION
  • ENGLISH
  • SYNTAX
  • CONSTRUCTION

Cite this