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New trends and methodologies in applied English language research III

Synchronic and diachronic studies on discourse, lexis and grammar processing


Edited By Sofia Bemposta-Rivas, Carla Bouzada-Jabois, Yolanda Fernández-Pena, Tamara Bouso, Yolanda J. Calvo-Benzies and Iván Tamaredo

This volume includes eleven papers pertaining to different areas of linguistics and organised into three sections. Part I contains diachronic studies which cover data from Middle English to Present-Day English and which explore phenomena such as the status of extender tags, the distribution of free adjuncts, post-auxiliary ellipsis, and the use of ‘ephemeral’ concessive adverbial subordinators. Part II comprises studies on grammar and language processing dealing with topics such as the interaction between syntactic and structural complexity and verbal agreement with collective subjects, the influence of distributivity and concreteness on verbal agreement, the interaction of complexity and efficiency in pronoun omission in Indian English and Singapore English, and the methods and approaches used for grammar teaching in modern EFL/ESL textbooks. Finally, Part III revolves around lexis, discourse and pragmatics, with papers that discuss the development of the discoursal representation of social actors in Argentinian newspapers after the military dictatorship, the construction of women’s gender identity through positive and negative emotions in women’s magazines, and spelling-to-sound correspondence on Twitter.

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Interactivity and opportunism in agreement operations: An experimental study on the production of subject-verb agreement in English and Spanish (Paula Márquez-Caamaño)


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PAULA MÁRQUEZ-CAAMAÑO University of Santiago de Compostela –

Interactivity and opportunism in agreement operations: An experimental study on the production of subject-verb agreement in English and Spanish

1.  Introduction

Agreement is a pervasive phenomenon present in over 70% of the world’s languages (Mallison and Blake 1981). Despite this pervasiveness, the mechanisms at work in the agreement process are still a matter of discussion which has drawn the attention of many scholars since the 80s. From then onwards, an incessant debate has been created around the possible sources of information present in the functioning of agreement. The primary sources thought to play a role in agreement have been either syntactic form or conceptual structure. The present cross-linguistic experimental study aims to address this apparently unsolvable syntax-semantics conundrum, and to provide a psychologically adequate account of the possible mechanisms behind agreement implementation. Agreement errors constitute a useful resource to ascertain the informational sources that underlie the agreement system. That is why the present work resorts to a set of error elicitation tasks focusing on the analysis of subject-verb agreement errors elicited by complex subject NPs like The price of the skirts. There exists ample experimental evidence – pioneered by the seminal work of Bock and Miller (1991) – supporting that agreement errors tend to arise when a plural local noun interferes between the singular head noun and the verb, resulting in attraction errors like *The price of the skirts are high...

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