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First comes first or Proximity for all in Croatian: Gender Agreement / Peti-Stantić, Anita ; Tušek, Jelena.

By: Peti-Stantić, Anita.
Contributor(s): Tušek, Jelena [aut].
Material type: materialTypeLabelArticleDescription: .Other title: First comes first or Proximity for all in Croatian: Gender Agreement [Naslov na engleskom:].Subject(s): 6.03 | gender agreement, experimental morphosyntax, information structure, Crotaian | gender agreement, experimental morphosyntax, information structure, CrotaianOnline resources: Click here to access online | Click here to access online In: 20th Biennial Conference on Balkan and South Slavic Linguistics, Literature and FolkloreSummary: In Croatian, as well as in some other South Slavic languages, SV and VS conditions in gender agreement of coordinate structures differ substantially. Results of our previous psycholinguistic experiments within the Coordinated Research in the Experimental Morphosyntax of South Slavic Languages (EMSS) project confirm statistically significant differences in agreement types between these two positions. Although prominent claims in the literature favor the structural (pertaining to the syntactic hierarchy) rather than the linear factors in grammatical agreement, our findings from the controlled psycholinguistic production task experiment, as well as the follow-up grammaticality rating study and non-words study, contradict these claims. The baselines for our research are the coordinated structures of the same and mixed gender, the most interesting condition being the NF and FN conditions. In VS condition, the first conjunct after the verb is at the same time the highest hierarchically (HCA), first in a linear structure (out of two or more conjuncts, FCA) and closest to the verb (CCA). This triggers the agreement with the highest/first/closest conjunct so strongly that the agreement with the lowest/second/furthers is almost non-existing. In the SV condition, however, there is much higher variability of results the variability of results is much higher, but at the same time there is a visible tendency towards the CCA in mixed gender conditions not containing M as one of the conjuncts. In our current research, we test only the SV condition, as it’s more informative. We also focus on two linear features that we labeled “first comes first” and “proximity for all”. Our hypothesis is that the rate of the FCA in SV condition with coordinated structure placed outside the focus position would be even lower than previously attested, despite the fact that the first conjunct is hierarchically highest out of two in both conditions. In our previous experiments, the coordinated structure in the SV condition was initially placed in the linear sentence structure. Since our goal was to disambiguate between the hierarchically first and linearly closest agreement, we did not control for the factors pertaining to the information structure. In our current experiment, the coordinated structure is placed in the second position, while the very first position is reserved for adverbs. (Stimulus: Dogovor je pomaknut na petak. Target: sjednice i vijeća vs. stimulus: Iznenada je dogovor pomaknut na petak) As a result, we avoid the effect of focus position. We will present the combination of results from some of the offline comprehension studies, grammaticality judgment ratings and online production tasks supporting the view that linearity plays not only a more prominent role than what has been claimed in the literature, but a crucial one. Our findings are in line with the Parallel Architecture and the Simpler Syntax Hypothesis. The implications of our findings go far beyond the gender agreement itself by opening the doors to a possible theory of psycholinguistically informed agreement processing.
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In Croatian, as well as in some other South Slavic languages, SV and VS conditions in gender agreement of coordinate structures differ substantially. Results of our previous psycholinguistic experiments within the Coordinated Research in the Experimental Morphosyntax of South Slavic Languages (EMSS) project confirm statistically significant differences in agreement types between these two positions. Although prominent claims in the literature favor the structural (pertaining to the syntactic hierarchy) rather than the linear factors in grammatical agreement, our findings from the controlled psycholinguistic production task experiment, as well as the follow-up grammaticality rating study and non-words study, contradict these claims. The baselines for our research are the coordinated structures of the same and mixed gender, the most interesting condition being the NF and FN conditions. In VS condition, the first conjunct after the verb is at the same time the highest hierarchically (HCA), first in a linear structure (out of two or more conjuncts, FCA) and closest to the verb (CCA). This triggers the agreement with the highest/first/closest conjunct so strongly that the agreement with the lowest/second/furthers is almost non-existing. In the SV condition, however, there is much higher variability of results the variability of results is much higher, but at the same time there is a visible tendency towards the CCA in mixed gender conditions not containing M as one of the conjuncts. In our current research, we test only the SV condition, as it’s more informative. We also focus on two linear features that we labeled “first comes first” and “proximity for all”. Our hypothesis is that the rate of the FCA in SV condition with coordinated structure placed outside the focus position would be even lower than previously attested, despite the fact that the first conjunct is hierarchically highest out of two in both conditions. In our previous experiments, the coordinated structure in the SV condition was initially placed in the linear sentence structure. Since our goal was to disambiguate between the hierarchically first and linearly closest agreement, we did not control for the factors pertaining to the information structure. In our current experiment, the coordinated structure is placed in the second position, while the very first position is reserved for adverbs. (Stimulus: Dogovor je pomaknut na petak. Target: sjednice i vijeća vs. stimulus: Iznenada je dogovor pomaknut na petak) As a result, we avoid the effect of focus position. We will present the combination of results from some of the offline comprehension studies, grammaticality judgment ratings and online production tasks supporting the view that linearity plays not only a more prominent role than what has been claimed in the literature, but a crucial one. Our findings are in line with the Parallel Architecture and the Simpler Syntax Hypothesis. The implications of our findings go far beyond the gender agreement itself by opening the doors to a possible theory of psycholinguistically informed agreement processing.

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