Rules vs. Analogy in Spanish Irregular Verbs

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PIs Nora Presson, Brian MacWhinney, Nuria Sagarra
Faculty MacWhinney
Postdocs n/a
Others with > 160 hours n/a
Study Start Date 04/01/10
Study End Date 06/01/10
Learnlab n/a
Number of participants (total) 105
Number of participants (treatment)
Total Participant Hours ~350
Datashop? Not yet

Abstract

The goal of this experiment was to test explicit instruction of when irregular verbs take a change in the stem, and when they use a regular affixation pattern. We gave beginning Spanish students practice conjugating verbs that have irregularity in some inflected forms. Two irregularity types were compared: stem-change verbs, where the pattern of transformations is predictable based on a large gang of similar irregular verbs, and spelling-change verbs, where the pattern of transformations is predictable based on the spelling and the phonology of the inflected form and the infinitive. We compared explicit formulations of "when to change" the stem of a verb with an analogical comparison condition, where instead of a rule formulation, participants saw a similarly irregular verb they knew (judged by the instructor) conjugated appropriately as a model.

Glossary


Research question

This research is designed to discover the best method of producing robust learning of French nominal gender, as well as the factors that make this learning more difficult.

Background and significance

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Annotated bibliography