Conceptual effects on agreement: A corpus study of mismatch in English copular constructions

Cecily Jill Duffield


Research on the production of subject-verb agreement has focused on the features of the subject rather than the larger construction in which subject-verb agreement is produced or how the conceptual relationship between subjects and predicates may interact in affecting subject-verb agreement patterns. This corpus study describes subject-verb number agreement mismatch in English copular constructions which take the frame of (SEMANTICALLY LIGHT) N + [REL] + COP + (SPECIFIC) PRED NOM, where the copula reflects the grammatical number of the predicate. Results suggest that speakers make use of conceptual information from the entire construction, and not just the subject, when formulating agreement morphology.

Full Text: