The role of morphology in subject-verb number agreement: A comparison of Mexican and Dominican Spanish

Rebecca Foote, Kathryn Bock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The goal of the present study was to test the predictions of two contrasting claims about the role of morphology in subject-verb number agreement production. According to the maximalist view described by Vigliocco, Hartsuiker, Jarema, and Kolk, languages with relatively rich inflectional morphology may be more susceptible to the influence of notional number due to the penetration of meaning into the agreement process. An alternative proposed by Eberhard, Cutting, and Bock predicts the opposite: Languages with richer inflectional morphology are less susceptible to notional number because inflectional morphemes filter the effect of number meaning. In the present experiments, utterances differing in notional number properties were elicited from speakers of two varieties of Spanish that vary in morphological richness. In Experiment 1, participants formed sentences with overt subjects. In Experiment 2, they produced sentences with null subjects. Results supported the hypothesis that richer morphology reduces notional effects during agreement production, both within and across languages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-461
Number of pages33
JournalLanguage and Cognitive Processes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012



  • Agreement production
  • Spanish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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