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Straight from the horse’s mouth


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We investigated the comprehension of subject-verb agreement in Turkish-German bilinguals using two tasks. The first task elicited speeded judgments to verb number violations in sentences that contained plural genitive modifiers. We addressed whether these modifiers elicited attraction errors, which have supported the use of a memory retrieval mechanism in monolingual comprehension studies. The second task examined the comprehension of a language-specific constraint of Turkish against plural-marked verbs with overt plural subjects. Bilinguals showed a reduced application of this constraint, as compared to Turkish monolinguals. Critically, both groups showed similar rates of attraction, but the bilingual group accepted ungrammatical sentences more often. We propose that the similarity in attraction rates supports the use of the same retrieval mechanism, but that bilinguals have more problems than monolinguals in the mapping of morphological to abstract agreement features during speeded comprehension, which results in increased acceptability of ungrammatical sentences.

Keywords: Turkish; agreement attraction; bilingualism

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 4, 2019

This article was made available online on March 30, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Straight from the horse’s mouth: Agreement attraction effects with Turkish possessors".

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