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Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory

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Frequency and morphological irregularity are independent variables. Evidence from a corpus study of Spanish verbs

Viviana Fratini / Joana Acha
  • Basic cognitive processes and their development, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Spain
  • Other articles by this author:
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/ Itziar Laka
Published Online: 2014-06-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cllt-2013-0028

Abstract

We present the results of the first corpus analysis of Spanish verbs where the correlation between morphological irregularity and frequency was considered. In English, irregular verbs are more frequent than regular ones (Ullman, 1999 and Michel et al., 2011). We tested whether this frequency-irregularity relation observed in English would also hold in a more complex morphological system like Spanish. Results show that frequency and morphological irregularity do not correlate in Spanish. This pattern of results represents a challenge for the Dual-Mechanism model of morphology (Pinker and Prince 1988; Pinker and Ullman 2002), where all irregulars are argued to be stored whole in memory and are predicted to be more frequent than regulars.

Keywords: Spanish; irregular morphology; corpus linguistics

About the article

Viviana Fratini

Viviana Fratini is a PhD student at the Department of Linguistics and Basque Studies at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). She graduated as a Speech Therapist in 2005 (Universidad del Museo Social Argentino, UMSA) and has worked on language acquisition disability and dyslexia. Her research focuses on the study of inflectional morphological processing in children with dyslexia and its correlation with reading skills. Itziar Laka and Joana Acha supervise her research.

Joana Acha

Joana Acha is associate professor in the Department of Basic Psychological Processes and their development at the UPV/EHU and coordinator of the cognitive development course in the developmental area. She received her Ph.D. in 2009 at the University of Valencia with the work “Experimental analysis of the effect of orthographic similarity and encoding processes of letters during reading” (published at the University of Valencia in 2010). She has been researcher at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the Basque Centre on Cognition Brain and Language of Donostia. Her research is currently focused on the cognitive processes involved in language development and reading, and her teaching includes Cognitive development, Neuroscience and Learning difficulties.

Itziar Laka

Itziar Laka is Full Professor at the Department of Linguistics and Basque Studies and director of The Bilingual Mind research group at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). She graduated in 1990 (MIT) with a dissertation entitled Negation in Syntax: On the Nature of Functional Categories and Projections, (published in 1994 by Garland), and was Assistant Professor in Linguistics at the University of Rochester (New York) during 1990–1995. She has been invited professor at the Universities of Viena, Utrecht, Naples and Río de Janeiro, and invited research fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Humanities (NIAS), and the Instituto Universitario Ortega y Gasset (Madrid) among others. She is corresponding member of Euskaltzaindia, the Royal Academy for the Basque Language, and author of A Brief Grammar of Euskara, the Basque Language (1996), freely available on the internet. Her current research combines theoretical linguistics and experimental methods from psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics to inquire into the neural representation and processing of language, with a strong focus on syntax and bilingualism.


Published Online: 2014-06-14

Published in Print: 2014-10-01


Citation Information: Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, Volume 10, Issue 2, Pages 289–314, ISSN (Online) 1613-7035, ISSN (Print) 1613-7027, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cllt-2013-0028.

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©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Munich/Boston. Copyright Clearance Center

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