Pronoun production: Word or world knowledge?


Number agreement and grammatical gender agreement are susceptible to attraction, where characteristics of other sentence elements lead to agreement errors. Previous evidence and theories suggest that attraction happens as a syntactic or lexical process (i.e., involving word-knowledge), rather than as a conceptual process (i.e., involving world-knowledge). The current paper presents data on a different type of agreement: agreement in notional/conceptual gender between genitive pronouns and their antecedents. We find that conceptual gender agreement is also susceptible to attraction, but unlike number or grammatical gender agreement, this attraction happens as a conceptual process, not a syntactic/lexical process.

The State of the Art in Speech Error Research. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics, 53, 191-203.
L. Robert Slevc
Principal Investigator