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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Aiming at shorter dependencies: the role of agreement morphology
Author(s): Ros, Idoia
Santesteban, Mikel
Fukumura, Kumiko
Laka, Itziar
Keywords: language production
sentence word order
OV language
Issue Date: 2015
Citation: Ros I, Santesteban M, Fukumura K & Laka I (2015) Aiming at shorter dependencies: the role of agreement morphology, Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 30 (9), pp. 1156-1174.
Abstract: This study examined word order preferences as a function of phrasal length in Basque. Basque is an OV language with flexible sentence word order and rich verb agreement. Contrary to the universal short-before-long preference predicted by availability models, Hawkins has argued that short-before-long orders are preferred in VO languages such as English, whereas long-before-short orders are preferred in OV languages such as Japanese. However, it is unclear how length affects word order preferences when an OV language has rich verb agreement and allows post-verbal arguments. We found a general long-before-short preference, and a tendency to place the verb in a sentence-medial position when one constituent is long. We argue that since agreement morphology signals the thematic role and case of surrounding phrases, it contributes to speeding up sentence processing. We conclude that morphologically rich languages employ both general adjacency mechanisms and language-specific resources to enhance language efficiency.
DOI Link:
Rights: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Language, Cognition and Neuroscience on 07 Jan 2015, available online:

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