Research Paper

The processing of Determiner – Noun agreement and the identification of the gender of Nouns in the early acquisition of Portuguese

Abstract

The early acquisition of the Portuguese gender system is investigated. It is argued that the acquisition of the gender system is based upon the identification of morpho-phonological information within the closed class of determiners and upon the processing of agreement within the DP. Experimental evidence is provided for young children’s sensibility to morpho-phonological alterations in the class of determiners and for children’s reliance on this sort of information in the identification of the gender of novel nouns. Developmental differences in the effect of a phonology-gender analogy in the processing of gender agreement suggest that the effect of this factor after the age of three is dependent upon the gender system of the language having been identified on the basis of grammatical agreement at an earlier age. A theoretical account is provided in terms of a processing model that incorporates a theory of language in which agreement is characterized as feature sharing.

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Corrêa, L. & Name, M., (2003) “The processing of Determiner – Noun agreement and the identification of the gender of Nouns in the early acquisition of Portuguese”, Journal of Portuguese Linguistics 2(1), p.19-43. doi: https://doi.org/10.5334/jpl.34

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Letícia Corrêa (PUC do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil)
Maria Cristina Name (PUC do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil)

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