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HOW MANY COWS ARE THERE IN A HERD? A LOOK AT NOTIONAL NUMBER IN SPANISH SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT

Abstract

The issue of whether or not there is a difference. between notional  number  (number  in thought) and grammatical number (number in language) is relevant when studying subject­ verb agreement. One way this can be done is by examining the errors that normally occur in speech. By studying deviations in verb agreement, something can be learned about the ways in which speakers create and produce utterances. The purpose of the present work is to evaluate what agreement errors can reveal about head subjects of sentences and about how subject-verb agreement is computed by monolingual Spanish speakers. Do they produce agreement errors when faced with collective nouns, which are grammatically singular but notionally plural? The data indicate that during the agreement process, monolingual Spanish speakers neither compute subject-verb agreement purely notionally nor purely syntactically. A one-way ANOVA points to an interaction between notional and grammatical number.

How to Cite

Greth, D., (1998) “HOW MANY COWS ARE THERE IN A HERD? A LOOK AT NOTIONAL NUMBER IN SPANISH SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT”, Journal of Second Language Acquisition and Teaching 6, p.34-45.

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Delia Greth (University of Arizona)

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