Seminar Series

Sex and agreement: Brain potentials associated to gender and number agreement in Spanish

Agreement processes play an important role in language comprehension and production, especially in richly inflected languages, such as Spanish. They are important and necessary information for computing grammatical dependencies between the different elements of a sentence in order to build its syntactic structure. Furthermore, agreement contributes to discourse cohesion, establishing long distance references across sentences. Among the features used to compute agreement are gender, which can be a conceptual feature or a formal property of words, and number. In this talk I will describe behavioral and ERP experimental evidence on the agreement processes in language comprehension, mainly in monolinguals, but also in late learners of Spanish that do not have formal gender in their L1. The main question to be addressed is how do we solve agreement on-line when semantic or morphosyntactic features are available or absent, and their implications for sentence comprehension.