Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 392

Grammar as Processor

Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today (LA)


Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today (LA) provides a platform for original monograph
studies into synchronic and diachronic linguistics. Studies in LA confront empirical
and theoretical problems as these are currently discussed in syntax, semantics,
morphology, phonology, and systematic pragmatics with the aim to establish robust
empirical generalizations within a universalistic perspective.

General Editors
Werner Abraham

University of Vienna / Rijksuniversiteit


Groningen

Elly van Gelderen

Arizona State University

Advisory Editorial Board


Cedric Boeckx

Christer Platzack

Guglielmo Cinque

Ian Roberts

Gnther Grewendorf

Lisa deMena Travis

Liliane Haegeman

Sten Vikner

Hubert Haider

C. Jan-Wouter Zwart

Harvard University
University of Venice

J.W. Goethe-University, Frankfurt


University of Lille, France
University of Salzburg

University of Lund

Cambridge University
McGill University

University of Aarhus
University of Groningen

Volume 137
Grammar as Processor. A Distributed Morphology account of spontaneous
speech errors
by Roland Pfau

Grammar as Processor
A Distributed Morphology account
of spontaneous speech errors

Roland Pfau
University of Amsterdam

John Benjamins Publishing Company


Amsterdam/Philadelphia

TM

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of


American National Standard for Information Sciences Permanence of
Paper for Printed Library Materials, ansi z39.48-1984.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data


Pfau, Roland.
Grammar as processor : a distributed morphology account of spontaneous speech
errors / Roland Pfau.
p. cm. (Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today, issn 0166-0829 ; v. 137)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Grammar, Comparative and general--Morphology. 2. Grammar, Comparative and
general--Phonology. 3. Discourse analysis. 4. Speech perception. 5. Language
awareness. I. Title. II. Series: Linguistik aktuell ; Bd. 137.
P241.P43 2009
415'.9--dc22
isbn 978 90 272 5520 4 (Hb; alk. paper)

2008044246

2009 John Benjamins B.V.


No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by print, photoprint, microfilm, or any
other means, without written permission from the publisher.
John Benjamins Publishing Co. P.O. Box 36224 1020 me Amsterdam The Netherlands
John Benjamins North America P.O. Box 27519 Philadelphia pa 19118-0519 usa

Table of contents

Acknowledgments
List of abbreviations
chapter 1
Introduction
1.1 Motivations for investigating speech errors 2
1.2 The speech error corpus 7
1.3 A first look at the speech error data 10
1.3.1 Semantic anticipation and perseveration 10
1.3.2 Feature mismatch 11
1.3.3 Feature stranding and feature shift 16
1.3.4 Accommodation 18
1.4 Outline of the book 20
chapter 2
Grammar in use
2.1 On mentalism and psychological reality 25
2.2 The processing of grammatical structure 30
2.2.1 Phonological structure 30
2.2.1.1 Segments and segment clusters 31
2.2.1.2 The manipulation of subsegmental features 34
2.2.1.3 Suprasegmentals 36
2.2.2 Morphological complexity 38
2.2.2.1 Stranding 39
2.2.2.2 Non-concatenative morphology 41
2.2.3 Syntactic transformations
2.2.3.1 The Derivational Theory of Complexity 47
2.2.3.2 The psychological reality of empty elements 48
2.2.3.3 Transformational errors 50
2.3 Conclusion 52

xi
xiii

25

45

Grammar as Processor

chapter 3
Theoretical background
55
3.1 Multi-level models of language production 55
3.1.1 Processing levels 56
3.1.2 Lexical retrieval 58
3.1.3 Flow of information 60
3.1.4 Summary 62
3.2 Distributed Morphology: A sketch of the framework 62
3.2.1 The structure of the grammar 64
3.2.2 Morphological Structure 68
3.2.2.1 Morpheme types and local licensing 68
3.2.2.2 Morphological operations: Merger, insertion, and fusion 72
3.2.3 Phonological Form 76
3.2.3.1 Vocabulary insertion 76
3.2.3.2 Phonological readjustment 79
3.2.4 Summary 81
3.3 Conclusion 81
chapter 4
Semantic features in language production
4.1 Non-random insertion: Distinguishing cats from dogs 83
4.2 Semantic features in speech errors 86
4.2.1 Semantic substitutions 86
4.2.2 Semantic anticipations and perseverations 91
4.2.3 Summary 93
4.3 A note on compositional semantics 93
4.3.1 The count/mass distinction 94
4.3.2 Semantic (natural) gender 97
4.3.3 Semantic negation 101
4.3.4 Summary 101
4.4 Conclusion 102
chapter 5
Morphosyntactic features in language production
5.1 The processing of grammatical gender 106
5.1.1 Definition and assignment of gender 107
5.1.2 Underspecification of grammatical gender 109
5.1.2.1 Gender accommodation 111

83

105

5.2

5.3

5.4

5.5

Table of contents

5.1.2.2 The identical gender effect 113


5.1.2.3 Against gender impoverishment 120
5.1.3 The limits of gender accommodation 121
5.1.4 Summary 127
Defective feature copy I: Local agreement 127
5.2.1 Experimental studies on proximity concord 131
5.2.2 Local subject-verb agreement in speech errors 136
5.2.2.1 Agreement with noun within subject DP 137
5.2.2.2 Agreement with noun within object/adjunct XP 142
5.2.2.3 Agreement with local nominative DP 148
5.2.2.4 SVA-errors in blends 149
5.2.2.5 The prominence of [+plural] 151
5.2.2.6 Morphosyntactic factors: Case and gender 155
5.2.2.7 Morphophonological factor: Zero-marking 161
5.2.2.8 Semantic factors: Animacy and collectivity 162
5.2.2.9 Summary 165
5.2.3 Transformations and feature copy 166
5.2.3.1 Local SVA in embedded clauses 168
5.2.3.2 Local SVA in matrix clauses 170
5.2.3.3 Summary 172
5.2.3.4 A note on local SVA in polar questions 174
5.2.4 Local SVA and the Minimalist Program 176
5.2.5 Local agreement involving pronouns 181
5.2.6 Summary 185
Defective feature copy II: Long-distance agreement 187
5.3.1 LDA in natural languages 188
5.3.2 LDA in speech errors 190
5.3.2.1 Matrix verb agrees with embedded argument 190
5.3.2.2 Embedded verb agrees with matrix argument 194
5.3.2.3 A special case: Anticipatory agreement 196
5.3.3 Summary: Agreement domains 198
Feature shift and feature stranding 202
5.4.1 Number 202
5.4.2 Tense 206
5.4.3 Negation 210
5.4.4 Gender 213
5.4.5 Case 217
5.4.6 Summary 219
Conclusion 221

Grammar as Processor

chapter 6
223
Rethinking accommodation
6.1 A typology of accommodations 224
6.1.1 Phonological accommodation 225
6.1.2 Morphophonological accommodation 225
6.1.3 Morphological accommodation 226
6.1.4 Morphosyntactic accommodation 228
6.1.5 Summary 230
6.2 Feature copy 230
6.2.1 Gender agreement 231
6.2.2 Subject-verb agreement 232
6.2.3 Summary 233
6.3 Feature stranding 234
6.3.1 Spell-out of feature bundles 235
6.3.2 Phonological readjustment 236
6.3.3 Context-sensitive spell-out of features 237
6.3.4 Summary 239
6.4 Local licensing 240
6.4.1 Phonological readjustment and suppletion 242
6.4.2 Morpheme insertion 246
6.4.3 Competing nominalizations and DP-internal structure 250
6.4.4 Accounting for categorial identity 252
6.4.4.1 The role of licensing in root exchanges 254
6.4.4.2 The role of adjacency in root exchanges 256
6.4.5 Summary 262
6.4.6 An alternative account: Minimize Exponence 263
6.5 Action!: Two complex cases 267
6.5.1 Error #1: Morpheme insertion, feature copy & readjustment 267
6.5.2 Error #2: Case assignment, morpheme insertion & feature copy 270
6.6 Against repair strategies 273
6.6.1 Reconsidering (morpho)phonological accommodation 274
6.6.2 An exception: Lexical construal 278
6.6.3 A possible surface filter 280
6.6.4 Summary 285
6.7 Repairs: Two further issues 286
6.7.1 Too late for repair 286
6.7.1.1 Morpheme stranding 287
6.7.1.2 Feature mismatch within DP 287
6.7.1.3 Subcategorization errors 291
6.7.1.4 Summary 292

Table of contents

6.7.2 Partial repair 295


6.7.3 Summary 298
6.8 Conclusion 298
chapter 7
Conclusion
7.1 Language production in the DM-model 302
7.2 Speech errors in the DM-model 306
7.3 Problems and perspectives 311
appendix
Speech error data
Appendix I: Notational conventions 315
Appendix II: Error distribution 316
Appendix III: Semantic anticipation & perseveration 317
III.1 Semantic anticipation 317
III.2 Semantic perseveration 318
Appendix IV: Feature mismatch 318
IV.1 Local subject-verb agreement 318
IV.2 Long-distance subject-verb agreement 327
IV.3 Feature mismatch on pronoun 329
IV.4 Feature mismatch within DP 331
IV.5 Subcategorization errors 334
Appendix V: Feature stranding & feature shift 336
V.1 Feature stranding 336
V.2 Feature shift 339
Appendix VI: Accommodation 342
VI.1 Feature copy 342
VI.2 Feature stranding 345
VI.3 Local licensing 347
VI.4 Combined effects 349
VI.5 Lexical construal 351
References
Subject index

301

315

353
369

Acknowledgments

To be sure, this book could have been written without the input, feedback, and
support from linguists and friends but it would have been much harder and less
inspiring, and the result would certainly look different. I am therefore grateful to
all the people who helped me shape and develop my ideas by providing invaluable
feedback, be it through electronic or personal correspondence.
I am particularly indebted to Helen Leuninger for her inspiration and for
teaching me to appreciate the value (and beauty) of speech errors. Moreover, I
would like to thank Rajesh Bhatt, Jason Brown, Brendan Costello, Heidi Harley,
Annette Hohenberger, Donald MacKay, Pamela Perniss, Martin Salzmann, Dan
Siddiqi, and Eva Waleschkowski for stimulating discussions and miscellaneous
valuable contributions. My drive to work on this book experienced a boost following my participation in the LSA 2005 Summer Institute workshop on The
state of the art in speech error research. I thank Carson Schtze and Vic Ferreira
for organizing the workshop and for inviting me. I am also very grateful to Adam
Albright for his insightful commentary on my presentation. In addition, I wish to
thank the workshop participants, in particular, Thomas Berg, Julie Franck, Merrill
Garrett, Teri Jaeger, and Stephanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, for the helpful feedback
they provided.
The positive effect of the support I received from colleagues at the University
of Amsterdam while working on this book cannot be overestimated. In particular, I wish to thank the members of the parts-of-speech circle Jan Don, Marian
Erkelens, Kees Hengeveld, and Eva van Lier for inspiring discussions and commentary on parts of this book. Moreover, I am grateful to Enoch Aboh, Anne
Baker, Dik Bakker, Hans den Besten, Robert Cirillo, and Josep Quer for input and
encouragement.
A separate paragraph has to be devoted to my dear friends Katharina Hartmann and Markus Steinbach. I owe them very special thanks for their continuous
support and advice in both linguistic and non-linguistic matters, and, most of all,
for their friendship.
On the editorial side, I very much appreciated the help of the series editors
Werner Abraham and Elly van Gelderen. Special thanks to Werner for his encouragement, his patience, and his invaluable comments on the manuscript. Moreover,

Grammar as Processor

I wish to thank Kees Vaes for his professional assistance and the very pleasant
cooperation during the production process.
A substantial part of this book was written on a sort of work retreat in the
beautiful German Alps. While being there, Christl and Richard Altenried and Lilli
and Manfred Ulbert would occasionally tend to my physical well-being, thereby
contributing in a significant way to the end product (the only qualification being
Plenus venter non studet libenter). I thank them for being such lovely and caring
hosts.
Most of all, I thank Federico Lopez for inspiration and support beyond lingu
istics. For everything.
Last but not least, I want to express my deep gratitude to my wonderful family,
my parents Renate and Klaus and my brothers Mathias and Jochen, for their love
and support. This book is dedicated to Anna, Lieselotte, and Karl the next generation to produce intriguing speech errors and, who knows, maybe the next generation to study them.

List of abbreviations

abs
acc
AgrS
comp
dat
dim
DM
du
erg
expl
f
foc
fut
gen
imp
inf
loc

absolutive case
accusative case
subject agreement
comparative
dative case
diminutive
Distributed Morphology
dual
ergative case
expletive
feminine gender
focus
future tense
genitive case
imperfect tense
infinitive
locative case

m
masculine gender
mod.part modal particle
MS
Morphological Structure
n
neuter gender
neg
negation (particle or affix)
nmlz
nominalizing suffix
nom
nominative case
part
participle
pass
passive
plural
pl
poss
possessive
pres
present tense
rec
reciprocal pronoun
reflexive pronoun
refl
rel
relative pronoun
sg
singular
SVA
subject-verb agreement

chapter 1

Introduction




A word fitlyspoken
is like apples of gold in a setting ofsilver.
(Proverbs25,11)

Our spontaneous speech is far from being perfect. Rather, it is interspersed with
irregularities and errors of various kinds. Speakers may begin an utterance but
never bring it to an end at least not to the end they originally intended because,
while speaking, they realize that what they were going to say is inadequate,
imprecise, or simply wrong. In such cases, a speaker may consciously decide to
break off and to repair the utterance. More often than not, however, the irregularities that occur are of an unconscious nature. Just switch on the TV and watch
a random fragment of some interview or talk show. Most likely, you will notice
that the participants frequently produce strings of words that, when listened to
closely, resemble gibberish: wild parentheses, missing verbs, and stranded ideas.
Still, the conversational partner and the audience usually manage to make sense
of this verbal chaos, and what is more, they may not even be aware of the flaws
itcontains.
On top of all of these idiosyncrasies, utterances are further distorted by spontaneous speech errors, slips of the tongue. Typically, and in contrast to the irregularities mentioned previously, in slips, two linguistic elements interact, such as,
for instance, segments, morphemes, or words. Two segments may change place
in a sound exchange and two synonymous words may fuse into one in a blend,
to give just two examples. Slips of the tongue are unconscious errors, too, and for
the most part, they are neither noticed by the speaker nor by the hearer. Occasionally, a speaker may correct her/his utterance, but even such a self-repair may
gounnoticed.
Fortunately, some slips of the tongue are noticed and find their way into error
collections compiled by psycholinguists. Actually, it is often the researcher herself/
himself, equipped with pen and paper, who zealously notes down an error when
hearing one. For the psycholinguist, spontaneous speech errors are a highly welcome and exciting phenomenon, since due to their regular (that is, non-random)
character speech errors are taken as valuable evidence for mental representations

Grammar as Processor

and processes involved in speech production.1 In this book, I take a closer look at
what insight speech errors can provide concerning grammatical representations
and processes. In particular, I investigate in how far the observed error patterns
can be accounted for in a model of grammar, the Distributed Morphology model,
and in how far the grammar model can be mapped onto the psycholinguistic language productionmodel.
In the remainder of this chapter, I will first give a brief historical overview of
the motivations that brought researchers to investigate speech errors. In Section 1.2,
I will introduce the speech error corpus that is the basis of this study as well as
the distribution of the slip types it contains. Speech errors come in many different types; not all of the attested types, however, are relevant for the present study.
In Section 1.3, I will familiarize the reader with the error types that will play an
important role throughout this book and that will be subject to more extensive
analysis and discussion in subsequent chapters. In Section 1.4, I sketch the outline of thebook.

1.1 Motivations for investigating speech errors


Historically, spontaneous speech error data have been collected and studied for
various reasons. Many of the early studies in this field were motivated by an
interest in speech errors as a possible cause of historical linguistic change (Paul
1886; Sturtevant 1917; Jespersen 1922). Meringer & Mayer (1895) point out
that Paul (1886) was probably the first one to believe that the repeated occurrence of a slip might be the trigger for a certain sound change. For instance, the
metathesis which changed Indogermanic potmen to ptomen was argued to be the
result of speech errors. Meringer, however, takes such a correlation to be very
. Note that this does not only hold for slips of the tongue but also for slips of the hand, that
is, speech errors in sign languages. Research on slips of the hands in American Sign Language
and German Sign Language has demonstrated in an impressive way that slips of the hand
share interesting properties with slips of the tongue. It has therefore been argued that, for
the most part, the speech processor is modality-independent (Newkirk, Klima, Pedersen &
Bellugi 1980; Hohenberger, Happ & Leuninger 2002; Keller, Hohenberger & Leuninger 2003;
Leuninger, Hohenberger, Waleschkowski, Menges & Happ 2004). Except for the discussion of
one sign language example in Section 2.2.1.1, in this book, I will only be concerned with slips
of the tongue (also see Footnote 9).
Since it has been shown that Distributed Morphology is well-suited for explaining sign
language phenomena for instance, the abundant use of simultaneous morphological alterations (see, for example, Glck & Pfau 1999; Pfau & Glck 2000; Mathur 2000; Pfau 2002)
I assume that the main findings of the present study also hold for sign language data.

Introduction

unlikely, since comparable exchanges of segments, that is, exchange of a nucleus


and a coda within one syllable, are hardly ever observed in spontaneous slips of
thetongue.
A second motivation for studying errors and probably the most familiar one
outside of linguistic circles was to gain insight into psychological repressions.
In his seminal work on error-prone actions (such as remembering, speaking, and
writing, amongst others), Sigmund Freud (1901/2000) claims that speech errors
usually reveal our suppressed emotions and secret desires. Amongst many others,
he discusses the following twoexamples.
(1) a. Haben Sie heute die Auslage
bei Wertheim gesehen?

have you today the shop.window at Wertheim seen
ganz
dekoriert
completely decorated

Sie ist ganz


dekolletiert
it is completely low-cut

Have you seen the shop windows at Wertheim today?


They are completely decorated.

b. Ich

I

bin so verschnupft, ich kann nicht durch


die Ase
am so bunged.up, I
can not through the (error)

natmen, Nase atmen


(error), nose breathe

I am so bunged up, I cannot breathe through the nose.

According to Freud, the verb substitution error in (1a), in which dekolletiert


(low-cut) is substituted for dekoriert (decorated) clearly exemplifies an instance
in which a hidden sexual desire of the speaker surfaces (Freud 1901/2000:131).2
The gentleman who uttered the slip was chatting with a lady about the Easter
preparations going on in Berlin, which, amongst other things, involved decorating the shop windows. For Freud, it is obvious that the speaker was impressed
by the ladys beautiful dcollet neckline but did not dare to express his admiration. Still, the suppressed thought found its way into his words through the
speecherror.

. Note that only parts of the chapter on speech errors (Das Versprechen) are from 1901;
some parts were added by Freud in later editions of the book. The error in (1a), for instance,
was added to the original chapter only in 1917. In some English versions (e.g., Freud 2005),
the parts that were added later are missing. Moreover, in the English version, linguistic difficulties often made it necessary to modify or substitute examples given by Freud in order
to make them comprehensible to the English readership. For that reason, example (1b)
although it is contained in the original (1901) version of the chapter did not make it into
the before-mentioned English version.

Grammar as Processor

However, not all Freudian slips need arise from repressed sexual thoughts.
Some errors call for much more complex explanations which are to be looked for
in the biography of the respective speaker. For instance, in order to understand the
deeper meaning of the error in (1b), Freud argues, one must thoroughly consider
the personal history of the speaker, one of his female patients, who owns a guesthouse (Freud 1901/2000:124). She herself claims to know what caused the slip.
That morning she waited for the streetcar at a station called Hasenauerstrae.
While waiting, it occurred to her that if she were French, she would pronounce the
name of that street without the /h/ in the onset. Upon further enquiry of the therapist, she remembers that as a 14 year old, she had played a French girl in a play,
on that occasion deliberately speaking German with a French accent. According
to Freud, the fact that a few days earlier, a French guest had arrived at her guesthouse, evoked this hidden memory. Consequently, the phoneme exchange in (1b)
has to be analyzed as the result of an interfering unconscious thought from a completely differentcontext.
This causal chain is by far not the most complex one called in by Freud in order
to explain a spontaneous speech error. Obviously, his analyses do not say anything
about the actual processes and grammatical entities involved in language production. All he is interested in is how the subconscious may influence various actions we
perform (see Grnbaum (1984) for a philosophical critique of Freuds approach).3
However, Freud was not the first one to study speech errors. A few years earlier,
Meringer & Mayer (1895), a linguist and a psychiatrist from Austria, provided what
is now considered to be a more traditional analysis.4 On the basis of a corpus of slips
of the tongue that Rudolf Meringer had collected, they arrived at the conviction:

. It should be noted that influence of the subconscious does not necessarily imply
hidden desires or emotions. In so-called environmental contaminations (T. Harley 1990),
for instance, visual or auditive material present in the speakers environment, but irrelevant
to the speakers intended utterance, may be incorporated into speech. Consider, for instance,
the following object name source contamination (T. Harley 1990:48; error element in bold
face).

(i) You havent got a computer, have you? You havent got a screwdriver, have you?

In these errors, the name of an object present in the visual environment intrudes into the utterance. In (i), the speaker was entering a room where the addressee was working at a computer.
. Freud was familiar with the study by Meringer and Mayer. On the first page of his chapter
on speech errors, he points out that he does not agree with their viewpoints, in particular
with their attempt to provide purely linguistic explanations for these errors. He also notes that
Meringer and Mayer themselves have not overlooked the possibility of speech disturbances

Introduction

dass man sich nicht regellos verspricht, sondern dass die hufigeren Arten
sich zu versprechen auf gewisse Formeln gebracht werden knnen. Mit der
Regelmigkeit der Sprechfehler [] gewinnen dieselben an Bedeutung, sie
mssen durch konstante psychische Krfte bedingt sein, und so werden sie zu
einem Untersuchungsgebiet fr Naturforscher und Sprachforscher, die von ihnen
Licht fr den psychischen Sprechmechanismus erwarten drfen. (Meringer &
Mayer 1895:9)5

The above quote can be seen as an early formulation of the third motivation for
doing speech error research: the effort to investigate linguistic rules and processes that are active in language production. In fact, spontaneous errors played
an increasingly important role in psycholinguistic attempts to construct linguistic performance models (Lashley 1951; Bierwisch 1970/1982; Fromkin 1971;
Garrett 1975, 1976, 1980a, 1988, 1990, 1993; Shattuck-Hufnagel 1979; Butterworth
1982; Leuninger 1987). The crucial question motivating this endeavour is: What
kinds of (possibly ordered) processes mediate between a communicative intention and the articulation of an utterance? A closely related question concerns the
role that grammatical units and rules play in the generation of an utterance. It is
this latter question that tackles the issue of the relationship between competence
andperformance.
Fromkin (1971) was the first one to develop a performance model on the
basis of slips of the tongue, thereby giving the impetus to a new field of research
within psycholinguistics. On the one hand, Fromkins aim was to furnish proof
of the psychological reality of theoretical linguistic entities (see Chapter 2).
On the other hand, however, she also wanted to demonstrate that characteristic properties of various types of spontaneous errors can be related to certain
planning mechanisms and processing stages in a performance model (see
Section3.1).
In the following, I shall only be concerned with the third of the abovementioned possible motivations for doing speech error research. That is, I will
focus on what grammar theory can tell us about the nature of speech errors
and vice versa what speech errors can tell us about the nature of grammar.
through complicated psychic influences, that is, through elements outside of the same word
or sentence or the same sequence of words (Freud 2005:27).
. that one does not randomly produce slips, but that the more frequent types of errors can
be reduced to certain formulas. With increasing frequency, speech errors gain in importance;
they must be caused by constant psychological forces and therefore, they become a field of
investigation for natural scientists as well as linguists who may expect them to shed light on
the psychological mechanism involved in speaking. (my translation).

Grammar as Processor

An important basic assumption of psycholinguistic research into speech errors


is that a detailed analysis of the errors contained in spontaneousspeech
can give some clues to the particular mechanisms of language production, in
which the abnormal case [] can lead to conclusions about the factors involved
in normal functioning. [] [T]he phenomena involved in spontaneously
produced incorrect sentences can be of interest in sorting out questions of the
linguistic system proper. This fact is not surprising, since the essential factor in
linguistic behavior is linguistic competence, so that all phenomena of language
production, even pathological phenomena, can be related to competence.
(Bierwisch 1982:31)

Consequently, slips of the tongue (as well as other behavioral data, such as, for
instance, acquisition data and data from impaired speakers) are of interest to
linguists who (implicitly or explicitly) accept the assumption that the rules of
grammar enter into the processing mechanism such that evidence concerning
production, recognition, recall, and language use in general can [] have bearing
on the investigation of rules of grammar (Chomsky 1980:200f). This, in turn,
implies that meaningful psycholinguistic analyses of error data can only be made
against the background of significant hypotheses concerning the structure, that is,
the grammar, of the language inquestion.
With that in mind, let us have another look at the two Freudian slips in (1).6
In a psycholinguistic model such as the one proposed by Fromkin (1971), these
two errors would simply be treated as a form-based verb substitution and a phoneme exchange, respectively. In (1a), the intended element dekoriert (decorated)
and the intruder dekolletiert (low-cut) are phonologically very similar: they have
the same number of syllables and share the first syllable, the onset and nucleus of
the second syllable, and the rhyme of the third syllable. Therefore, they are tightly
linked to each other in a form-based lexical network. At the point in the production process when a lexeme is selected for insertion, the processor erroneously
picks a wrong element. Coincidentally, this leads to a somewhat suggestive utterance but in principle, it could be argued that the process is no different from, say,
the substitution of fingiert (faked) for fixiert (to have afixation).7

. The study of Ellis (1980) is an attempt to reanalyze Freuds original collection of speech
errors in terms of the more modern and process-oriented models of language production
outlined in Section 3.1.
. The actual slip I am referring to is given in (i). The context of the utterance was such that it
was very unlikely that the speaker unconsciously referred to an incidence in which she herself,
the addressee, or one of the persons referred to in the utterance had actually faked something.

Introduction

In (1b), two word-initial phonemes, the nasal /n/ and the glottal stop //, are
exchanged; the result are two non-existing but phonologically possible words.
Phonological errors that result in existing words are more readily interpreted in a
psychoanalytic fashion, of course. Still, as we have seen, Freud manages to come
up with a rather tedious explanation for the first error element Ase. Note, however,
that no attempt is made to explain the second word that results from the error,
namely natmen. In fact, Freud simply neglects this element. In other words: only
the elements that fit the post-hoc analysis areconsidered.

1.2 The speech error corpus


The collection of speech errors has a very long tradition. Anwar (1979) points
out that grammarians have been collecting and analyzing slips of the tongue at
least as far back as the 8th century when the Arab linguist Al-Ki-sai wrote his
book Errors of the populace. As already pointed out above, more than one thousand years later, Rudolf Meringer, a linguist from Vienna, collected his famous and
extensive error corpus (Meringer & Mayer 1895). Apart from some scattered references, however, linguists regained interest in the investigation of speech errors
only in the 60s of the 20th century (for example, Boomer & Laver 1968; Fromkin
1968; Nooteboom 1969; but also see Lashley1951).
From the late 60s and early 70s on, famous corpora were compiled in the
United States by Victoria Fromkin (the UCLA corpus; started around 1968) as
well as by Merrill Garrett and Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel (the MIT corpus; started
around 1971). In Germany, the collection of spontaneous speech errors started
somewhat later. Two large collections worth mentioning are the one compiled by
Thomas Berg (the Hamburg corpus; started around 1981) and the one initiated by
Helen Leuninger (the Frankfurt corpus). In the following, I will give a few more
details about the Frankfurt corpus since it has been an important data source for
the presentstudy.


(i) er ist so auf seinen Vater fingiert, h, fixiert
he is so on his
father faked, er, have.fixation.on
He has such a fixation on his father.
Still, it is, of course, quite possible that, if one only digs deep enough, one could also come
up with a psychoanalytic interpretation for this error. But this is exactly one of Grnbaums
(1984) points of critique: if one searches long enough, one can always come up with an explanation which involves subconscious processes of some type, the only limit for this endeavour
being the length of the therapy session.

Grammar as Processor

At Frankfurts Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-University, Helen Leuninger and her


team began to compile a corpus of spontaneously occurring speech errors around
1980. This effort was motivated by the wish to obtain a new database that would
allow for a comparison of German and English slips. Another goal was to compare
speech errors of unimpaired speakers to errors produced by language-impaired
speakers (see Klein & Leuninger 1988, 1990; Leuninger 1989). The news spread fast
and soon students as well as colleagues were actively participating in the extension
of the corpus by reporting in detail errors which they either uttered themselves
or heard others produce. Following the publication of two popular science collections of speech errors in the 1990s (Leuninger 1993, 1996), accompanied by extensive media coverage, the Frankfurt corpus became quite famous and for a while,
people would contribute to the corpus by sending in errors. The slips are sampled
in a paper-and-pencil fashion with as much of the error context as possible (for
example, embedding of the error element(s) in a sentence or discourse as well as
possible non-linguistic influences).8 Subsequently, the data are classified according
to a number of criteria (type of error, error element, grammatical domain in which
the error occurs, self-correction) and are fed into a database in thecomputer.9
In the remainder of this book, I will frequently speak of my corpus. Note
that this corpus is extremely albeit deliberately biased in that it contains only
those errors which are informative for the present study.10 On the one hand, I have

. This is scanty information when compared to the information Rudolf Meringer recorded for
each slip he heard someone produce. Meringer also included the birthdate of the speaker, the
educational background, the time of the day, the state of health and tiredness, etc. Fromkin (1971)
points out that Meringer thus became the most unpopular man at the University of Vienna. It is a
well-known fact, though, that even without including all of these personal details, interrupting a
speaker by exclaiming Oh, you said a funny thing or Wait a second, I have to grab a pen is not
conducive to ones reputation. Obviously, these are the risks one has to take for scientific advance.
. At the moment of completing this book, the Frankfurt corpus of spontaneous speech
errors contains 5595 slips. Around 1995, the Frankfurt group also began to collect spontaneous slips of the hand. Up to now, approximately 200 spontaneous slips of the hand have
been collected. Moreover, in the context of a comparative study on language production,
signed and spoken errors were elicited in an experimental setting. In this setting, adult signers
and speakers were asked to describe picture stories under various cognitive stress conditions.
The elicitation task yielded in total 944 spoken and 640 signed errors (see Leuninger et al.
(2004) for extensive discussion and comparison of the spoken and signed data).
. Non-deliberate bias is probably observed in all speech error collections for the simple
reason that some slips are perceptually more salient than others. For instance, errors that affect
whole words are noticed more often than errors that affect features, segments, or syllables
(Tent & Clark 1980) and anticipations have been claimed to be more salient than perseverations (Nooteboom 1980). On the role of perceptual bias and on the validity of speech error
data see Cutler (1981) and Ferber (1995).

Introduction

extracted all relevant errors from the Frankfurt corpus. On the other hand, over
the past thirteen years, I have also collected a considerable amount of slips myself.
At present, my corpus contains 829 slips. In contrast to the organization of the
Frankfurt corpus, the errors in my collection are not grouped together according
to the type of error (for example, blend, substitution, anticipation, etc.) but rather
according to what property makes them interesting for myinvestigation.
Roughly, the errors contained in my corpus are of four types (to be elaborated
on in the next section). Firstly, there are errors that involve the anticipation or
perseveration of a semantic competitor. Secondly, the corpus contains errors that
involve some kind of feature mismatch, be it a feature mismach between a subject
and a verb, a mismatch within the determiner phrase (DP), or a mismatch between
a case-assigning element and an argument DP (subcategorization errors). The
third group comprises those errors in which an abstract morphosyntactic feature is
either stranded or shifted. Finally, errors of the fourth type all involve some kind of
post-error adaptation process, often referred to as accommodation, where adaptation may affect the error element itself, may have an influence on the post-error
context in which the error element appears, or may involve morpheme insertion.
The distribution of errors from my corpus is given in Table (2). Note that error distributions for a given error type will be specified in more detail in various summary
sections throughout the book (also see Appendix II for a more detailedoverview).

(2) Distribution of errors in my corpus (n =829)

semantic anticipation or perseveration



semantic anticipations
semanticperseverations

49
18
31

errors involving feature mismatch





subject-verb agreementerrors
mismatch on pronominalelement
mismatch withinDP
subcategorizationerrors

406

219
45
96
46

stranding or shift of abstract feature



featurestranding
featureshift

133
87
46

errors involving accommodation





accommodation of errorelement
accommodation ofcontext
morphemeinsertion
lexicalconstrual

Total

241

63
129
34
15

829

Grammar as Processor

Before introducing the different error types, two remarks concerning the classification of errors have to be made. First, it should be kept in mind that there are
few perfect speech errors (Cutler 1988). This implies that frequently, a particular
error allows for more than one interpretation, and therefore classification. Occasionally, for instance, it is not clear whether a segmental error should be classified
as a perseveration or an anticipation, when the relevant segment precedes and
follows the error locus in the utterance. Similarly, a segmental error that results in
an existing word might also be classified as a form-based substitution. I have made
an effort to classify errors as meticulously as possible, sometimes also pointing
out alternative interpretations. The possibility remains, however, that some of the
errors aremisclassified.
Secondly, in my corpus, a slip is listed twice when it combines two of the above
properties. In some exchange errors, for instance, accommodation may affect not
only one of the error elements (for example, stem change in the new environment)
but also the context (for example, choice of appropriate determiner). In other words:
the total number of errors reflects the total number of relevant phenomena attested in
the data, not the number of error tokens. Throughout the book, whenever there is no
source given for an error, this error comes from my own corpus of speecherrors.

1.3 A first look at the speech error data


The aim of this section is to give the reader a first impression of what the relevant data look like. The structure of this section follows the error classification in
Table (2) above. That is, I will first look at semantic anticipations and perseverations (Section 1.3.1), then turn to errors involving some kind of feature mismatch
(Section 1.3.2), followed by a description of errors that involve feature stranding
or feature shift (Section 1.3.3). Finally, in Section 1.3.4, I will introduce errors in
which accommodation is observed. All of the error types briefly presented here
will be described and analyzed with much more scrutiny in Chapters 4 to6.
1.3.1 Semantic anticipation and perseveration
Semantic relations between words are known to play an important role in semantic substitutions, where a word takes the slot of a semantically related element,
and blends, where two (nearly) synonymous words or phrases are blended so that
a part of both competing words/phrases makes it into the actual utterance. (3a)
is an example of a meaning-based substitution; in this error, the noun Kartoffel
(potato) is substituted for Zwiebel (onion). An example of a word blend is given
in (3b) (see (7a) and (8) for examples of phrasal blends). Crucially, in the context

Introduction

in which this slip was produced (an inquiry about a visit to the opera), the two
nouns Platz (place) and Sitz (seat) are synonymous. In the utterance, the onset of
Platz combines with the rhyme of its competitor Sitz (the notational conventions
are explained in AppendixI).
(3) a. ich brauch-e dafr
auch zwei Kartoffel-n,

I
need-1.sg for.that also two potato-pl,

I also need two onions for that (dish).

h, Zwiebel-n
er, onion-pl

b. Hatte-st du
ein-en
gut-en
Plitz

had-2.sg you(sg) a-m.acc good-m.acc (error)

ein-en gut-en
Platz
// ein-en
gut-en
Sitz
a-m.acc good-m.acc place(m) // a-m.acc good-m.acc seat(m)

Did you have a good seat?

Semantic anticipations and perseverations constitute a third, yet less well known
error type in which semantic features play a role. In these errors, a semantic property of an element within the intended utterance mostly a noun triggers the
appearance of an erroneous lexeme that shares this semantic property. In the
semantic perseveration (4a), for instance, the appearance of bellen (to bark) can
be explained by its semantic relation to the preceding noun Hund(dog).
(4) a. ich woll-te
den Hund anbell-en
anbind-en

I
want-past the dog
bark.at-inf tie.up-inf

I wanted to tie up the dog.
b. schreib-st du
mir bitte,
h, gib-st

write-2.sg you(sg) me please, er, give-2.sg

du
mir bitte ein-en
Stift
you(sg) me please a-m.acc pen(m)

Would you please give me a pen?

The same line of reasoning can be applied to the slip in (4b), a semantic anticipation. Obviously, the intruding verb schreiben (to write) bears a semantic relation
to the noun Stift (pen). Semantic anticipations and perseverations are informative
because they constitute further evidence for the assumption that semantic features
do play a role in language production; they will be subject to more detailed discussion in Section4.2.2.
1.3.2 Feature mismatch
As we are going to see, various types of slips of the tongue exchanges, perseverations, anticipations, substitutions, and blends may result in a feature mismatch.
The four types of feature mismatch to be introduced in this section are mismatch

Grammar as Processor

between subject and verb, mismatch on pronouns, mismatch within DP, and
subcategorizationerrors.11
Let us first have a look at subject-verb agreement errors (SVA-errors). In
German, a verb agrees with its subject with regard to the morphosyntactic features person and number. Correct spell-out of these features on the verb, however, may be thwarted by various influences. SVA-errors come in two types, as
local and long-distance agreement errors. Consider the representative examples
in (5).
In (5a), the head of the subject DP ein Ende (an end) is singular but is followed by the plural genitive modifier der Unruhen (of the disturbances). Due to
the number specification of the more local noun, the copula verb, which immediately follows the complex subject DP (indicated by square brackets), appears
in its plural form. The same phenomenon is observed in (5b); the structural
conditions, however, are different. In this slip, the local plural DP verschiedene
Erklrungen (different explanations) is not part of the subject DP but rather a
direct object preceding the verb in the embedded clause. Again, the verb surfaces
in its pluralform.
. In earlier work, I referred to feature mismatch between subject and verb as anti-agreement (Pfau 2000, 2003), following the use of this term in the syntax literature. In these studies,
the label anti-agreement is usually applied to cases in which a verb does not (fully) agree
with its subject under certain, well-defined conditions. For the sake of illustration consider
the Arabic examples in (i) and (ii). In Arabic, in the presence of an auxiliary verb, both the
auxiliary and the main verb agree with the subject, as can be seen in (i). However, this kind of
double agreement is not observed in all configurations. In particular, when the subject follows
the auxiliary but precedes the main verb, as in (ii), number agreement is only realized on the
main verb (Bahloul & Harbert (1993:16); also see Mohammad (2000); Bakker (2005)).

(i) Al-bint-aani kaan-ataa ta-ktub-aani darsa-humaa
the-girl-3.du was-3.f.du 3.f-write-du lesson-f.du
(ii) Kaan-at
al-bint-aani ta-ktub-aani darsa-humaa
was-3.f.sg the-girl-3.du 3.f-write-du lesson-f.du
The two girls were writing their lesson.
Similarly, in Berber, the verb appears in a special participle form after wh-extraction of the
subject (Ouhalla 1993). See Ouhalla (1993) for discussion of further anti-agreement phenomena in Breton and Turkish.
Apparently, in all these cases, the (auxiliary) verb does not agree with (some features of)
the subject. It should be emphasized, however, that in these languages, the anti-agreement
effect is restricted to certain constructions and that frequently, the non-agreeing verb appears
in a fixed (default) form. As we will see in Sections 5.2 and 5.3, both these restrictions do not
hold for the spontaneous subject-verb agreement errors. Therefore, in the present study, I use
the more neutral term feature mismatch instead of anti-agreement.

Introduction

(5) a. [ein Ende der


Unruhe-n]
sind
nicht abzusehen

an end the.gen.pl disturbance-pl be.3.pl not in.sight

ein Ende der


Unruhe-n
ist
nicht abzusehen
an end the.gen.pl disturbance-pl be.3.sg not in.sight

An end of the disturbances is not in sight.

b. dass die Theorie verschiedene



that the theory different

Erklrung-en
ermglich-en
explanation-pl make.possible-3.pl

dass die Theorie verschiedene Erklrung-en ermglich-t


that the theory different
explanation-pl make.possible-3.sg

that the theory allows for different explanations.

c.

ich wiss-t,
h, ich wei,
[dass ihr
Profis
seid]
I know-2.pl, er, I
know.1.sg that you(pl) professionals be.2.pl
I know that you are professionals.

My corpus also contains intriguing SVA-errors in which the error source is clearly
more distant to the verb than the verbs subject although these are much rarer
than the local agreement errors in (5a) and (5b). One such case is given in (5c). In
this slip, the matrix verb wissen (to know) agrees in person and number with the
2nd person plural subject pronoun of the complement clause. Note that we are not
dealing with the anticipation of an agreement suffix, since the verb in the intended
matrix clause also undergoes stemchange.
Local agreement is not only observed in SVA-errors but also in pronominal
agreement; in this case, the relevant features are gender and number. Just as in
local SVA-errors, the relevant features are sometimes copied from an intervening,
that is, more local noun. Most frequently, this kind of erroneous co-reference is
observed in relative clause constructions. In (6), for instance, the relative pronoun
(rel) agrees in gender with the masculine noun Kragen (collar) which is the head
of the local compound Pelzkragen (fur collar). This compound is contained in a
prepositional phrase modifying the feminine head noun Jacke(jacket).
(6) mein-st
du
die Jacke
mit dem
Pelz-kragen, den
mean-2.sg you(sg) the.f jacket(f) with the.m.dat fur-collar(m), rel.m.acc
ich, h, die
I, er, rel.f.acc

ich letzt-es Jahr


ge-kauf-t
hab-e
I last-n year(n) part-buy-part have-1.sg

Do you mean the jacket with the fur collar that I bought last year?

The third type of feature mismatch to be considered is feature mismatch within


DP. Within the German DP, the relevant morphosyntactic features are gender,
number, and case. A mismatch occurs whenever the elements within DP (that
is, determiner, adjective(s), quantifier, noun) do not match with respect to one or
more of thesefeatures.

Grammar as Processor

The error in (7a) is a blend of the two DPs ein spannendes Finale (an exciting
final) and ein spannender Wettkampf (an exciting competition) which, at least in
the context of the utterance, convey roughly the same meaning. The nouns contained in the competing DPs are of different gender: Finale is neuter, Wettkampf (or
rather, the head -kampf (fight) of the compound) is masculine. In the resulting slip,
Wettkampf takes the place of Finale but the adjective spannend is marked for neuter
gender. Note that in this particular case, the mismatch is not visible on the indefinite article, since in the nominative, the neuter and masculine indefinite article are
isomorphous. (7b) is an exchange, presumably the exchange of two definite determiners, which gives rise to two gender mismatches.12 In the intended utterance,
both DPs receive accusative case. At the first error site, the masculine determiner
den combines with the feminine noun Hand (hand) while at the second error site,
the feminine determiner die accompanies the masculine noun Mund(mouth).
(7) a. das wird ein
ganz spannend-es Wettkampf,
h, Finale

that be.fut a.m/n very exciting-n competition(m), er, final(n)

ganz spannend-es Finale // ganz spannend-er Wettkampf


very exciting-n final(n) // very exciting-m competition(m)

That will be a very exciting final//competition.

b. jetzt hab ich selber den


Hand vor
die

now have I myself the.m.acc hand(f) in.front.of the.f.acc

Mund,
h, die
Hand
vor
den
Mund
mouth(m), er, the.f.acc hand(f) in.front.of the.m.acc mouth(m)

ge-halt-en
part-hold-part

Now I have put the hand in front of the mouth myself.

c. die Hosen mss-en auf jed-en


Fll-e
in den Schrank

the trousers must-pl in every-sg.m.acc case(m)-pl into the wardrobe

auf jed-en
Fall
// auf alle
Fll-e
in every-sg.m.acc case(m) // in all.pl.m.acc case(m)-pl

In any case, the trousers have to be put into the wardrobe.

In (7a) and (7b), the mismatch only concerns the gender feature. Actually, in my
corpus, the cases in which a gender conflict alone causes the error have the highest share in the DP-internal agreement errors. Still, a mismatch may also be due
to other features or a combination of features, as is illustrated by the blend in

. Alternatively, one could analyze this slip as an instance of a feature exchange. See
Section 5.4.4 for further discussion.

Introduction

(7c). This slip is quite peculiar, since the two competing prepositional phrases contain the same noun, Fall (case), but with different number specification. Consequently, a gender conflict cannot come to fruition. The one and only reason for the
mismatch in this example is the number feature: the quantifying expression jeden
(every) is singular while the noun Flle (cases) isplural.
Subcategorization errors constitute the fourth and final type of feature mismatch. In these errors, the relevant morphosyntactic feature is the case feature. For
the most part, these errors occur in blends. The two slips in (8) are of this type but
exemplify subcategorization errors of different nature. In German, the two verbs
imponieren and beeindrucken both convey the meaning to impress but assign different case to the patient argument which, in (8a), is a second person singular
pronoun. In the error, imponieren combines with the accusative pronoun of the
alternative sentence frame instead of with the required dativepronoun.
(8) a. wer hat dich
am
meisten imponier-t

who has 2.sg.acc at.the most
impress-part

dich beeindruck-t // dir imponier-t


2.sg.acc impress-part // 2.sg.dat impress-part

Who has impressed you the most?

b. das lohnt
sich den
Aufwand nicht

that is.worth refl the.m.acc effort(m) not

das lohnt
sich nicht // das lohnt
den
Aufwand nicht
that is.worth refl not // that is.worth the.m.acc effort(m) not

Thats not worth it//Thats not worth the effort.

In contrast, in (8b), the verb lohnen (to be worth it) does not combine with a
wrongly case-marked argument but rather surfaces with a superfluous argument.
Here, the two alternative realizations are: (i) a reflexive construction containing
the reflexive pronoun sich versus (ii) a structure involving the accusative argument
Aufwand (effort). In the actual utterance, no decision between the alternatives is
made and the verb appears with the reflexive pronoun and the accusativeDP.13
. The opposite, that is, errors in which a required argument is missing, is also occasionally
observed. In (i), one of the possible realizations involves the verb sein (to be) in combination
with the nominative demonstrative das. The alternative realization is somewhat more complex
since the verb sagen (to say) requires a nominative as well as an accusative argument. In the
error, however, sagen is only accompanied by the demonstrative pronoun (note that the demonstrative has the same form in the nominative and the accusative).

(i) das kann sag-en das
kann sein // das
kann man sag-en
that can say-inf that.nom can be.inf // that.acc can one say-inf
Thats possible//You can say that.

Grammar as Processor

This concludes the survey of errors involving feature mismatch. Note that
SVA-errors both local and long-distance errors as well as feature mismatches
on pronouns will be subject to further discussion in Sections 5.2 and 5.3. DPinternal feature mismatches will be reconsidered in Section 5.1.3. Together with
subcategorization errors, they will make yet another appearance in Section6.7.1.
1.3.3 Feature stranding and featureshift
Some of the above examples have already made clear that morphosyntactic features play a central role in the derivation of an utterance, no matter whether the
result is grammatically correct or grammatically deviant, as, for instance, in the
examples in (5) and (6) which involve defective copy of agreementfeatures.
Besides being copied from a controller onto a target, morphosyntactic features may also be subject to stranding or shift in speech errors. Turning to feature
stranding first, it is noteworthy that in errors involving nouns, it is commonly the
case that nominal roots are shifted while the number specification is left behind.14
In (9a), a noun exchange, Bank (bench), which is specified for singular in the
intended utterance, appears in its plural form while the opposite is true for Kissen
(pillow). Note that Kissen forms its plural by means of a zero suffix. The fact that,
in the error, we are dealing with the singular form is evidenced by the singular
definite determiner (which, by the way, accommodates to the gender feature of
Kissen). Moreover, this error illustrates in an impressive way that we are dealing
with number stranding and not with suffix stranding, since after the exchange has
taken place, the appropriate plural allomorph is chosen for Bank and, moreover,
umlaut formation is triggered (accommodation sites areunderlined).15

. The slip in (i) is an exception to number stranding in a noun exchange. In this error,
the two nouns Ohren (ears) and Nacht (night) are exchanged together with their respective number specification. Otherwise, the resulting utterance would have been das Ohr um
die Nchte schlagen assuming that accommodation of the determiner and the plural-suffix
would have taken place. In (i), accommodation is not evident since the definite plural determiner and the definite feminine singular determiner have the same phonological form (see
Section 5.4.1 for further discussion).

(i) dafr werde ich mir nicht die


Ohr-en um
die Nacht schlag-en
for.that will I me not the.pl ear-pl around the.f night(f) hit-inf
die Nacht um
die
Ohr-en
the.f night(f) around the.pl ear-pl
For that, I will not make a night of it.
15. Obviously, errors involving nouns that form their plural by means of the same allomorph
are ambiguous between a feature-stranding and a suffix-stranding interpretation. This is true,

Introduction

(9) a.

bist
du
so nett und leg-st
die
Bnk-e
auf
be.2.sg you(sg) so kind and put-2.sg the.pl bench-pl on

das Kissen und leg-st


die
Kissen auf die Bank
the.n pillow(n) and put-2.sg the.pl pillow.pl on the.f bench(f)

Would you be so kind to put the pillows on the bench?

b. wie immer kam


er, h, versuch-te er pnktlich zu komm-en

as always come.past he, er, try-past he on.time to come-inf

As always, he tried to be on time.

In (9b), we observe stranding of the tense feature. Again, this is a clear case of
feature stranding, since the anticipated verb kommen (to come) has an irregular
past tense form, in contrast to the intended verb versuchen (to try) which takes
the regular past tense suffix-te.
In my corpus, errors involving feature shift are much rarer than those involving feature stranding; two of the few cases are given in (10). (10a) is an instance of
a number feature perseveration. Within the DP fnf Punkte Vorsprung (five points
in the lead), the plural feature associated with Punkte (points) is perseverated
onto Vorsprung (lead). While both nouns take the same plural suffix, Vorsprung
also undergoes umlaut in its plural form. In contrast, (10b) is best analyzed as an
exchange of case features. Assuming that pronouns are the spell-out of feature
bundles, it is clear that the pronouns surfacing in the error differ from the intended
pronouns only in their case specification. Note that therefore, the error does not
only exemplify feature exchange but also feature stranding, namely stranding of
person, number, and gender (for the third person pronoun)features.
(10) a. er hatte fnf Punkt-e Vorsprng-e fnf Punkt-e Vorsprung

he had five point-pl lead-pl
five point-pl lead

He was five points in the lead.
b. ich mcht-e dir
ihn
wirklich vorstell-en,

I
want-1.sg 2.sg.dat 3.sg.m.acc really
introduce-inf

h, dich
ihm
er, 2.sg.acc 3.sg.m.dat

I really want to introduce you to him.

for instance, for the noun exchange in (i) since both Woche (week) and Stunde (hour) take
the plural suffix -n.

(i) sie arbeitet nur zehn Woche-n die Stunde zehn Stunde-n die Woche
she works only ten week-pl the.f hour(f) ten hour-pl the.f week(f)
She only works ten hours a week.

Grammar as Processor

More errors involving feature shift and feature stranding will be discussed in
Section 5.4. Besides number, tense, and case, I will also address the features
negation, and gender. Furthermore, feature stranding will figure prominently
in Section 6.3, where I show that many of the cases that have traditionally been
subsumed under the label error accommodation (see next section) are actually
better analyzed as cases of feature stranding. Note finally that all of the above
examples exemplify the stranding or shift of morphosyntactic features. In my
corpus, there are also a few cases which seem to involve the stranding/shift of
compositional semantic features; these errors will be discussed in Section4.3.
1.3.4 Accommodation
As was shown in Section 1.3.2, speech errors may give rise to a feature mismatch,
that is, to an ungrammatical utterance. There are also intriguing cases, however,
in which an ungrammatical string that might have resulted from an error is made
good by means of an accommodation that brings the utterance in line with some
grammatical constraint. Garrett (1980b:263) defines accommodations as errors
in which the phonetic shape of elements involved in errors accommodates to the
error-induced environment. Traditionally, it has been assumed that accommodations are post-error processes that come in two types, as error accommodations
and context accommodations (Berg1987).
Let me illustrate this distinction by means of two pronoun exchanges. In
an error accommodation, it is the shifted (that is, anticipated, perseverated, or
exchanged) element itself that undergoes accommodation. This is what we observe
in (11a), where both of the exchanged pronouns could be argued to accommodate to the case specification at their respective landing sites (remember that the
accommodated elements areunderlined).
(11) a. ich
soll-te
doch
ihn,
h,

1.sg.nom shall-past mod.part 3.sg.m.acc, er,

er
soll-te
doch
mich
anruf-en
3.sg.m.nom shall-past mod.part 1.sg.acc call-inf

He was supposed to call me.

b. sie war
21, als
ich ge-storb-en
bin

she be.past 21 when I
part-die-part be.1.sg

ich war
21, als
sie ge-storb-en
ist
I
be.past 21 when she part-die-part be.3.sg

I was 21 when she died.

In contrast, in a context accommodation, the accommodation affects the environment of a shifted element. Note that in (11b), there is no need for the exchanged

Introduction

pronouns to accommodate since both slots are assigned nominative case. In this
error, it is the context of the error element, namely the verb in the embedded
clause, that accommodates to the person feature of the subjectpronoun.
Frequently, context accommodations involve the adaptation of material within
DP with respect to the gender feature of a shifted noun. In the noun exchange
(12a), for instance, the involved nouns Seite (side) and Sprung (jump) are of different gender and trigger gender accommodation in both positions, that is, on
the possessive pronoun sein (his) as well as on the definite determiner, which
cliticizes to the preposition zu (to) (note that the full form of the definite dative
masculine determiner isdem).
(12) a. sein-e Seite
zum
Sprung
ist schief-ge-gang-en

his-f side(f) to.the.m.dat jump(m) is wrong-part-go-part

sein Sprung
zur
Seite
his.m jump(m) to.the.f.dat side(f)

His jump to the side has gone wrong.

b. sie wird mindestens



she will at.least

ein-en halb-en Spruch,


a-m
half-m saying(m),

h, ein-e halb-e Stunde sprech-en


er, a-f
half-f hour(f) speak-inf

She will speak for at least half an hour.

Finally, (12b) illustrates that error and context accommodation may co-occur in
one error. First, the anticipated verb stem sprech (to speak) undergoes ablaut in
its nominalized form Spruch (saying, motto). Secondly, the indefinite determiner
and the quantifying expression halb (half ) accommodate to the masculine gender feature of Spruch. Note that (12b) represents a type of error that Stemberger
(1989) terms incomplete: due to the self-repair right after the error item Spruch,
it cannot be decided whether we are dealing with an anticipation or an exchange
(in the latter case, the complete utterance would have been sie wird mindestens
einen halben Spruchstunden).
The last type of accommodation I wish to introduce are accommodations
involving morpheme insertion. Strictly speaking, these errors are a special type
of context accommodation, the context, however, not being a word separate from
the error element (for instance, a determiner or verb) but rather a morphological
part of the error element. That is, the error element surfaces in a position where
it is accompanied by a morpheme that would not have been part of the intended
utterance. Consider, for instance, (13a). In this slip, the root schn (beautiful)
is anticipated and takes the position of the noun Frisur (hairdo). In this position, the anticipated root combines with the nominalizing suffix -heit, thereby
deriving the noun Schnheit (beauty). (13b) is quite similar but involves the

Grammar as Processor

adjectivization of the anticipated root Fest (party) in its post-error position by


means of the suffix -lich (note that the adequately derived form festlich means
festive). Hence, in both errors, the post-error context triggers the insertion of a
derivationalmorpheme.
(13) a.

ihr-e Schn-heit,
h, ihr-e Frisur
ist total schn
her-f beautiful-nmlz(f), er, her-f hairdo(f) is very beautiful
Her hairdo is very beautiful.

b. i ch fands
ein besonders fest-lich-es,
h, gelungen-es Fest

I foundit a.n particularly party-adj-n, er, successful-n party(n)

I think it was a particularly successful party.

Accommodations will be subject to more detailed discussion at various points


throughout this book. Gender (context) accommodations will be the center of
attention in Sections 5.1.2.1 and 5.1.3. Furthermore, most of Chapter 6 will be
devoted to accommodations of the types introduced above. In Section 6.1, I will
present a more detailed typology of accommodations. Context accommodations
will make another appearance in Section 6.2 while various types of error accommodations as well as errors involving morpheme insertion will be dealt with
in Sections 6.3 and 6.4. The discussion of accommodations will culminate in
Section 6.6, where I suggest that the concept accommodation is unnecessary and
should therefore be abandoned. In Section 6.7, I will explain why in some errors,
accommodation is notobserved.

1.4 Outline of the book


The aim of the present study is twofold. On the one hand, my aim is to demonstrate
that the error patterns as introduced in the previous section can be accounted
for in a straightforward way within the Distributed Morphology framework
(Halle & Marantz 1993). Crucially, this theory does not only explain the available evidence, it also makes correct predictions about possible and impossible
errors. Amongst other things, I will argue that the processing of morphosyntactic features (such as gender, number, person, and case) plays a crucial role
in language production, while the processing of categorial information (such as
noun, verb, and adjective) does not. On the other hand, I am going to show that
the time course of the (morpho)syntactic derivation as assumed in Distributed
Morphology is readily mapped onto the time course of processing as assumed in
multi-level models of language production (Garrett 1975; Levelt 1989). I therefore conclude that, as far as the speech error data are concerned, Distributed
Morphology makes for a psychologically plausible theory ofgrammar.

Introduction

At this point, a word of caution is appropriate. Let me stress that it is not


my intention to claim that Distributed Morphology would be the only theoretical
framework that can account for the error data under consideration. I am convinced, however, that Distributed Morphology allows for a particularly straightforward and elegant explanation of the speech errordata.
This monograph is organized as follows. In the next chapter, I am concerned
with the notion of psychological reality. After elaborating on some general views
on mentalism and psychological reality in Section 2.1, I sketch the findings of
some previous studies which investigated the psychological reality of grammatical
rules and entities on the basis of speech error evidence and reaction-time experiments. In Section 2.2, I consider phonological structure (segments, features, and
suprasegmentals), morphological structure (affixation and reduplication), and
syntactic structure (phrasal units and syntactic transformations) inturn.
The third chapter is devoted to the introduction of the psycholinguistic
model and the (morpho)syntactic framework. In Section 4.1, I present a sketch
of a multi-level language production model and I discuss how different types of
speech errors are accounted for in that model. In Section 4.2, I familiarize the
reader with the basic ideas of the model of grammar I adopt, namely the theory of
Distributed Morphology (DM). In a nutshell, in DM, the computational system is
taken to manipulate nothing but abstract roots and morphosyntactic features. It is
only after syntax that phonologically specified Vocabulary items are inserted into
terminal nodes. Moreover, it is assumed that the traditional terms for sentence
elements (N, V, A) are derivative from more basic morpheme types. That is, there
is only one type of lexical node (l-node) whose categorial status is defined by its
context (this is also referred to as local licensing). Before Vocabulary insertion
takes place, at the level of Morphological Structure, certain well-defined operations apply, such as fusion of adjacent nodes, insertion of agreement nodes, and
morpheme insertion. Moreover, after Vocabulary insertion, that is, at the level of
Phonological Form, Vocabulary items may be subject to phonological readjustment in certain structuralcontexts.
In Chapters 4 to 6, I present a detailed analysis and discussion of the speech
error data using the theoretical tools provided by DM. I start off in Chapter 4
by tackling the issue of what role semantic features play in language production.
Building on the specific properties of meaning-based substitutions and anticipations/perseverations of semantic features, I claim that from a processing point of
view one has to assume that conceptual features are available at a very early point
in the derivation in order to guide the choice of a particular root. I propose that the
abstract roots which are selected bear indices according to what lexical concept
they refer to. In this context, I also investigate the role of compositional semantic
features such as [count], semantic gender, and negation in languageproduction.

Grammar as Processor

In Chapter 5, I turn to the processing of morphosyntactic features. I start


this part of my investigation by looking at the representation and processing of
grammatical gender in Section 5.1. Since DM allows for the underspecification
of certain features, I consider this possibility with respect to grammatical gender.
A detailed discussion of the properties of form- and meaning-based noun substitutions leads me to conclude that in German, roots as well as Vocabulary items
must be specified for gender, since otherwise the observed identical gender effect
could not be explained. Further interesting evidence comes from gender accommodations: the fact that such accommodations are only attested after meaningbased noun substitutions supports the DM view that agreement relations are
established before Vocabulary insertion takes place. Processes of feature copy are
subject to further investigation in Sections 5.2 and 5.3 both of which deal with
instances of defective feature copy. I first address local subject-verb agreement in
Section 5.2, that is, cases where the erroneous agreement controller is closer to
the agreement target than the intended agreement controller. This phenomenon
has been investigated quite thoroughly in a series of experimental studies. A comparison of the experimental results to the German speech error data brings to
light interesting similiarities (for instance, the prominence of the plural feature)
as well as differences (for instance, grammatical function of the error source). For
local agreement errors, I also consider the impact of movement transformations
on the occurrence of errors. I conclude that features are copied only after movement operations have taken place. Interestingly, this is exactly what is predicted
by DM. In Section 5.3, I turn to an error pattern that, to the best of my knowledge, has not been described in detail before: long-distance agreement, where the
erroneous agreement controller is more distant to the agreement target than the
intended controller. Not surprisingly, long-distance agreement errors are comparably rare; still, they are frequent enough to make them an interesting object
of study. In this section, I also compare the error data to regular long-distance
agreement patterns as attested in certain languages. Section 5.4 deals with errors
that involve stranding or shift of one of the morphosyntactic features number,
gender, tense, case, andnegation.
Chapter 6 is devoted to a reconsideration of the concept of accommodation. Section 6.1 sets the stage by presenting a typology of accommodations. In
Sections 6.2 through 6.4, I take another look at context and error accommodations. First, in Section 6.2, I claim that most context accommodations are actually the result of feature copy processes. In Sections 6.3 and 6.4, I turn to error
accommodations and errors involving morpheme insertion. In 6.3, I consider
errors that I take to be due to feature stranding, possibly in combination with the
application of a phonological readjustment rule. The errors discussed in Section
6.4 are the result of local licensing, more specifically, of the application of specific

Introduction

rules in certain licensing environments. In the same section, I also point out that
problematic cases, that is, errors in which the category of the involved elements
seems to play a role, can be accounted for when we assume that the licensing
environment of roots constrains their interaction in an error. In order to further
clarify and summarize the theoretical claims brought forward in the previous
sections, I present a detailed analysis of two particularly complex, and therefore
particularly interesting, speech errors in Section 6.5. Based on the previous discussion, I conclude in Section 6.6 that accommodations (or repairs) in the true
sense do not exist. That is, once we take advantage of the tools made available by
DM, we need not postulate the application of costly post-error repair strategies.
Rather, all accommodatory processes are in fact due to mechanisms that apply
in the course of the (morpho)syntactic derivation anyway. In this section, I will
also point out possible exceptions to this generalization. Some remaining issues
concerning the (non-)availability of repairs are discussed in Section6.7.
In Chapter 7, I conclude that the morphosyntactic theory of Distributed
Morphology and the multi-level processing model can and should be related to
each other. Most importantly, the speech errors which are discussed throughout
this book (as well as other ones) receive a straightforward explanation within the
DM framework. That is, with DM, we have at our disposal a formal model of grammar which corresponds very well to the psycholinguistic model, which has explanatory power, and which therefore makes for a psychologically plausiblemodel.

chapter 2

Grammar in use
As mentioned in the previous chapter, one of the main objectives of this book is to
investigate the psychological reality of the theory of Distributed Morphology. In
essence, this boils down to the question of whether and, if yes, how the theoretical constructs and operations as assumed in this theoretical framework can help
us in explaining performance data. In this chapter, I shall have a look at some of
the aspects that are related to the question of how a particular grammar is put to
use. In Section 2.1, I will be concerned with a mentalistic perspective on linguistic
theory and with the notion of psychological reality of grammar. Results from
a number of psycholinguistic studies that investigate the psychological reality of
grammatical entities (such as features, segments, and morphemes) and operations
(such as syntactic transformations) will be presented in Section2.2.

2.1 On mentalism and psychological reality


A linguistic theory that does not only investigate the observable physical events
of an utterance but rather also takes into account mental capacities and processes
involved in the generation of an utterance, is often referred to as a mentalistic theory. In his influential article, Katz (1964:126) states that linguists who adopt the
mentalistic view contend that purely linguistic theories cannot succeed in predicting and explaining the facts of linguistic performance without making reference to the mental events, capacities, and processes of speakers, i.e., that linguistic
theories must contain concepts which enable linguists to formulate the principles
of mental operation that underliespeech.
In contrast to that, linguists who adopt a taxonomic conception of linguistics assume that purely linguistic theories can very well succeed in predicting and
explaining the facts of linguistic performance. Therefore, a taxonomic linguist
refuses to treat the internal psychological properties of speakers as part of the subject matter of linguistic theory. Moreover, he denies that theoretical linguistic concepts can have psychological reality. To be more precise, a taxonomic structuralist
proposes a procedure according to which every abstract linguistic predicate can
be reduced to behavioral and/or physical predicates (cf. Fodor 1968). In contrast

Grammar as Processor

to that, a mentalist linguist assumes that the theoretical constructions he uses in


building his theories are psychologically real. Note that this does not imply that the
theoretical constructions that are proposed require translation into neurophysiological terms. For the linguist, it does not matter what kind of physical realization
there is, since there is a critical distinction between a formal characterization of
linguistic structure and a physical system that implements thisstructure.
For the purpose of linguistic investigation, it is immaterial whether the mechanism
inside the speakers head is in reality a network of electronic relays, a mechanical
system of cardboard flip-flops and rubber bands, or, for that matter, a group of
homunculi industriously at work in a tiny office. (Katz 1964:129)

Obviously, the best kind of theory is one which systematizes the widest range of
facts. In the spirit of Chomskys criticisms of taxonomic theories, Katz (1964) tries
to show that a mentalistic theory can account for everything that a taxonomic
theory accounts for and, in addition, for many things that a taxonomic theory
must fail to account for. In particular, he demonstrates that only a theory that
makes reference to mental states and psychological factors is capable of providing
answers to the three fundamental questions with which a synchronic description
of a particular language deals (Katz 1964:130). These are: (1) What is known by a
speaker who is fluent in a natural language? (2) How is such linguistic knowledge
put into operation to achieve communication?, and (3) How do speakers come to
acquire thisability?1
Traditionally, linguistic theory investigates the first question, while psycholinguistics is concerned with the latter two. According to Chomsky (1980), however,
a strict division of the two disciplines does not make much sense, since knowledge
of language, language use, and language acquisition are in fact intimately related
to eachother.
Delineation of disciplines may be useful for administering universities or
organizing professional societies, but apart from that, it is an undertaking of
limited merit. A person who happens to be interested in underlying competence
will naturally be delighted to exploit whatever understanding may be forthcoming
about process models that incorporate one or another set of assumptions about
linguistic knowledge. Furthermore, it seems evident that investigation of
performance will rely, to whatever extent it can, on what is learned about the
systems of knowledge that are put to use. (Chomsky 1980:202)

. Compare the three basic questions with respect to knowledge of language, as formulated
in Chomsky (1986:3): (i) What constitutes knowledge of language? (ii) How is knowledge of
language acquired?, and (iii) How is knowledge of language put to use?

Grammar in use

The distinction between question (1) on the one hand and questions (2) and (3)
on the other also reflects the well-known distinction between linguistic competence and linguistic performance. Competence concerns only the knowledge of a
speaker/hearer of his language. Therefore, Chomsky (1965) excludes from consideration as data for a linguistic theory ofcompetence
such grammatically irrelevant conditions as memory limitations, distractions,
shifts of attention and interest, and errors (random or characteristic) in applying
his [the speaker/listeners; RP] knowledge of the language in actual performance.
(Chomsky 1965:3)

In contrast to that, linguistic performance is concerned with the actual use of


language in certain situations. Performance can only be seen as a direct reflection of competence if we fully accept the idealization proposed in the above
quotation. In reality, however, such a direct relation, of course, doesnt exist.
Nevertheless, many of the issues of competence are relevant to psycholinguistics. Chomsky (1965) points out that there is no reason to question the traditional opinion that research on language use can only progress to the extent
to which we gain insight into the underlying competence. Hence, models of
language use (performance models) should not be content with only describing
certain behavioral strategies; rather, they must show in what way the observed
behavior is influenced by the grammar, that is, by a formal device that uses a
finite number of rules with the help of which all the sentences of a language can
begenerated.
If a given theoretical construct an entity or a rule can be shown to have
a measurable effect on linguistic behavior that is, the acquisition, production,
and comprehension of language then we may speak of this construct as being
psychologically real, in the sense that it plays an active role in linguistic behavior. Therefore, claims for the psychological reality of linguistic constructs will be
justified only insofar as we are able to establish the psychological import of these
constructs. In Section 2.2, I will present evidence for the psychological reality of
some such linguistic constructs. In the remainder of this section, I will briefly
examine the notion of psychological reality itself (see Bever (1988) for a comprehensive historicaloverview).
Linell (1979) points out that within the scientific community, attitudes
towards the goal of psychological reality vary considerably. The extreme antimentalistic view is that of radical physicalism. According to this attitude, everything that can be meaningfully characterized as psychological can also be more
adequately characterized as physical. Therefore, talking about psychological
reality is nonsense and should be abandoned (see, for instance, Churchlands
(1989) theory of eliminative materialism). On the other end of the scale, we

Grammar as Processor

find the position taken by Chomsky and many other generativists, a position
termed naive optimism by Linell (1979).2 These scholars contend that speakers have at their disposal a highly internalized mental grammar and that the
abstract rule formulations the theoreticians arrive at are actually rules of the
speakers internal grammar. That is, a psychologically real grammar is supposed to be a theory of covert psychological abilities underlying a speakers
linguisticpractice.
But in what sense can a formal grammar reflect underlying knowledge? Once
again, there are different opinions as to what degree a grammar can or should be a
representational model of psychological realities. According to a strong position,
every aspect or detail of the theory is assumed to be isomorphic to some psychological (or neurological) counterpart, while according to a weak position, the
relationship between the theoretical grammar model and the speakers internalized knowledge is more indirect (Linell 1979:11). This opposition is what Ringen
(1975) refers to as strong versus weakmentalism.
Chomsky himself adopts the weak position. He points out that it is only
at an appropriate level of abstraction that we may expect a psychologically
real theory to describe properties alleged to be true of whatever the real
elements of the world may be when considered at that level of description
(Chomsky1980:104).
It is often argued that the theory of Universal Grammar whatever its
merit has not been convincingly shown to be psychologically real (see Fodor,
Bever & Garrett (1974) and the discussion in Section 2.2.3 below). But what
exactly is psychological reality supposed to mean? Chomsky suggests that the
term is to be understood on the model of physical reality. He points out that
in the natural sciences, however, one is not accustomed to ask whether the best
theory we can devise in some idealized domain has the property of physical
reality. Actually, the question when sensibly put is the same in both cases: is
the theory accurate for a certain area of investigation, that is, does it explain the
available evidence and does it make correct predictions? Chomsky illustrates his
argument with an illuminatinganalogy.

. In between these two extremes lie pessimism and moderate realism. The former attitude corresponds approximately to what was called a taxonomic view above: speakers may
very well possess knowledge of their language but it is taken to be impossible to find out
exactly what properties these psychological structures have. Under the latter attitude, speakers
are assumed to possess specific structural knowledge of their language. Still, an investigation
of psychological reality cannot be pursued with purely linguistic methods, but also needs to
take into account many types of external evidence.

Grammar in use

Consider the problem of determining the nature of the thermonuclear reactions


that take place deep in the interior of the sun. Suppose that available technique
permits astronomers to study only the light emitted at the outermost layers of the
sun. On the basis of the information thereby attained, they construct a theory of
the hidden thermonuclear reactions [ ]. Suppose that an astronomer presents
such theory, citing the evidence that supports it. Suppose now that someone
were to approach this astronomer with the following contention: True, you have
presented a theory that explains the available evidence, but how do you know
that the constructions of your theory have physical reality in short, how do you
know that your theory is true? The astronomer could respond only by repeating
what he had already presented. (Chomsky 1980:189f)

Obviously, it would be desirable to place a laboratory inside the sun to obtain more
direct evidence, but being unable to do so, we must test and confirm our theory indirectly. Similarly, a cognitive theory which, at an abstract level of description, aims at
characterizing properties of the language faculty can only be tested indirectly, that is,
by its success in providing explanations for selected phenomena. In principle, an effort
to relate this theory to other levels of description for instance, neurophysiological
and biological systems does not pose more problems than an effort to obtain access
to the thermonuclear reactions inside the sun in a more direct way than by measuring
emitted light (Grewendorf 1995). Chomsky concludes that the question of psychological reality is no more and no less sensible in principle than the question of the
physical reality of the physicists theoretical constructions (Chomsky1980:192).
Note that the psychological reality of linguistic structures and rules has nothing
to do with their introspective accessibility or intuitive plausibility. As a matter of fact,
many generativists doubt the relevance and reliability of introspectiveevidence.
Any interesting generative grammar will be dealing, for the most part, with mental
processes that are far beyond the level of actual or even potential consciousness;
furthermore, it is quite apparent that a speakers reports and viewpoints about his
behavior and his competence may be in error. (Chomsky 1965:8)

Put differently, the fact that a speaker has internalized a generative grammar that
expresses his knowledge of language does not imply that the structures and rules
assumed in this grammar must be conscious to the individual. But clearly, the
actual data of linguistic performance and this, of course, also comprises error
data may provide evidence for determining the correctness of certain hypotheses
about linguistic structures and rules.3 Some evidence of this kind (obtained in psycholinguistic studies in the last four decades) will be presented in Section2.2.
. For further discussion of the psychological reality and the mental representation of grammars see Fodor et al. (1974), Bresnan (1978), Stabler (1983), Berwick & Weinberg (1984),
Bresnan & Kaplan (1984), and Matthews (1991).

Grammar as Processor

Note that in the present study, I adopt the assumptions of weak mentalism. In
particular, I am going to investigate whether a particular theory of grammar the
Distributed Morphology framework (to be introduced in Section 3.2) is successful in providing elegant explanations for a certain kind of psycholinguistic
data, namely spontaneous speech error data. Crucially, I am not going to claim
that every detail of the theory theoretical constructs like, for example, V-to-Tns
movement or fusion of terminal nodes must be isomorphic to some psychological counterpart. Rather, I am going to demonstrate that Distributed Morphology
makes for a psychologically real theory of grammar in the sense that it is accurate
for the data underinvestigation.

2.2 The processing of grammatical structure


In order to demonstrate that a mentalistic theory of grammar can succeed in
answering the three fundamental questions mentioned in the previous section
(Katz 1964; Chomsky 1986), we need a performance model that shows how
abstract linguistic entities and mechanisms are actually put to use. Suppose that a
speaker is equipped with linguistic descriptions and procedures that define his/her
knowledge of a language, some of them innate, some of them acquired. Further
suppose that the language processing component that enables us to produce and
comprehend an infinite number of sentences makes active use of these descriptions and procedures (Kean 1980). We would then, of course, expect that the functioning of the processor is necessarily constrained by this internalized knowledge,
that is, by thegrammar.
In the sections to follow, I will examine possible constraints imposed on the
processor by the grammar. In particular, I will examine whether certain linguistic
constructs assumed in the model of grammar play an active role in language processing. The linguistic constructs to be considered are segments and phonological
features (Section 2.2.1), morphemes (Section 2.2.2), as well as phrases and syntactic operations (Section 2.2.3). The evidence I discuss does not only come from
spontaneous speech errors but also from experimental studies (for example, slip
experiments and reaction timeexperiments).
2.2.1 Phonological structure
Anomalous speech data may constitute a basis for deriving valid conclusions about
the form of phonological theory. Psycholinguistic analyses of speech errors show
that despite the continuous nature of (parts of) the speech signal at some level
of performance, discrete units exist that can be manipulated separately from other

Grammar in use

units: they can be substituted, exchanged, anticipated, or perseverated. As argued


by Fromkin (1971), the fact that it is impossible to explain certain error patterns
in speech production without reference to discrete performance units is further
substantiation of the psychological reality of theseunits.
One such processing unit which has received considerable attention since the
early days of speech error research is the segment (or phoneme) to be discussed
in Section 2.2.1.1; in this context, I will also consider the status of diphtongs and
affricates. In Section 2.2.1.2, I will consider the manipulation of subsegmental
features in speech errors, while the role of suprasegmental information such as
phrasal stress and tone is briefly investigated in Section2.2.1.3.4
2.2.1.1Segments and segment clusters
Fromkin (1971) notes that by far the largest percentage of slips from her corpus
involves the substitution, exchange, anticipation, or perseveration of segments,
either within words or across word boundaries, the latter case being the more frequent one. Consider, for instance, the segmental errors from Fromkin (1971:30f)
given in(1).
(1) a. John dropped his cuff of coffee
b. Im not allowing any proliperation of nodes
c. with this wing I do red
d. torn the curner

his cup of coffee


proliferation of nodes
with this ring I do wed
turn the corner

In (1a), the segment /f/ is anticipated from coffee, in (1b), the segment /p/ is perseverated within the word proliferation, and in (1c), the segments /r/ and /w/ change
place. The exchange in (1d) illustrates that vowels may also be affected. Data such
as these show that the processor must have access to the segmental structure of a
word at some point in the generation of an utterance, thereby verifying the psychological reality of segments in on-lineprocessing.
The same argument has been made for sign languages. Just like spoken words,
signs are not holistic, undividable units. Rather they are made up of sublexical
units sometimes also called phonological parameters; these include handshapes,
locations, and movements as first noted by Stokoe (1960). A crucial difference to
the structure of spoken words is that much of the phonological structure of signs is
organized simultaneously. That is, except for locations and movements which may
sequentially follow each other (Liddell 1984), the phonological parameters are
not articulated in a sequential fashion like consonants and vowels. A handshape,
. I will leave aside the issue of syllables and syllable-internal structure. For discussion of speech
error evidence that is informative with respect to the psychological reality of syllabic structure,
see Laubstein (1987, 1999), Treiman (1987), Sevald, Dell & Cole (1995), and Berg (2007).

Grammar as Processor

for instance, is articulated simultaneously with a location-movement sequence


(see Sandler & Lillo-Martin (2006) for an overview of theoretical models). Still,
parameters can be affected in speech errors just like phonological units in spoken languages. For the sake of illustration consider the following example from
German Sign Language, a handshape anticipation (Hohenberger et al. 2002:119).
In German Sign Language, the third person possessive pronoun is articulated with
a flat hand (B-hand), while the sign for parents involves two hands with thumb
and pinky extended (Y-hand). In the error, the Y-hand of the second sign is anticipated and combines with the movement (straight forward) and location (neutral
space) features of the first sign, resulting in a phonologically possible yet nonexistentsign.
(2)

(error)

parents

his/her

parents

Further justification for the assumption that individual segments are relevant units
in language production comes from the observation that in some errors, only one
segment of a consonant cluster is involved, that is, the cluster is split up in the
error, as illustrated by the examples in (3) (Fromkin1971:31f).
(3) a. blake fruid
b. at the Broadway spores the prices are

brake fluid
at the Broadway stores

In (3a), the two segments /r/ and /l/, both of which take the second position in
a consonant cluster (a complex syllable onset) are exchanged, while in (3b), the
segment /p/ which is the first part of the cluster /pr/ is anticipated and takes the
second position in thecluster /st/.5
A particularly interesting issue is the status of diphthongs. In many theories, diphthongs are treated as single, though complex segments. Under this view
. A fair number of errors reveals the transposition of whole clusters. Fromkin (1971),
however, points out that this does not evidence the fact that such clusters are inseparable units.
Rather, movement of whole clusters (as in (i)) constitutes further evidence for the assumption
that a syllable is not an unstructured unit either and that syllable parts (in this case onsets)
may also be affected in speech errors. Moreover, CV- or VC-sequences which constitute part
of a syllable can also be involved in errors (see (ii)).

(i) dreater swying sweater drying

(ii) piss and stretch stress and pitch

Grammar in use

it is predicted that the split-up of a diphthong in a speech error should not be


observed. However, if diphthongs are analyzed as a succession of a vowel and
a glide, one would expect one part of the diphthong to be subject to substitution with the other part remaining unaffected. On the basis of her speech error
data, Fromkin (1971:34) argues for a monophonematic interpretation: whenever
a vowel+glide sequence is involved in her corpus, the error always includes the
entire diphthong, as is true, for instance, in the anticipation avoilable for exploitation available. Stemberger (1983b) reaches the same conclusion in spite of the
fact that he is able to provide one exception to the rule. His example is given in
(4a); here, the /u/ of moving is anticipated and takes the position of the vowel in
the diphthong /ei/ of may (Stemberger 1983b:26).

(4) a. they [mui], may be moving back east again

b. ich glaube, dass irgendwo ne [kaif], Kaufeuphorie


vorhanden ist

I think that somewhere a (error) buying.euphoria existing is

I think that somewhere there exists a euphoria for buying.
c.

und dass du
dann um [dri], drei dort bist
and that you(sg) then at (error) three there be.2.sg
and that youll be there at three o clock.

On the basis of German slips of the tongue, Berg (1986) challenges the monophonematic view of diphthongs. In his corpus, there are a number of instances
in which diphthongs are split apart in an error. Two of his examples are given in
(4b) and (4c). In (4b), two diphthongs are involved. The glide part of the diphthong /i/ in Euphorie (euphoria) is anticipated and takes the place of the glide
in the diphthong /au/ in Kauf (buying), thereby giving rise to the vowel+glide
sequence /ai/. In (4c), the // of dort (there) is anticipated and substituted for the
vowel part of the diphthong /ai/ in drei (three) (Berg1986:201).6
Making use of her speech error data, Fromkin (1971) also examines the status
of affricates and of the velar nasal []. With respect to affricates, she observes that
not a single example in her corpus shows a splitting of an affricate into sequences
of stop plus fricative. With respect to the velar nasal, however, some of her data
indicate that at some level of performance, [] may be derived from an underlying
sequence /ng/ (Chomsky & Halle 1968). One such case is the slip in (5). Obviously,
. Further albeit somewhat anecdotical evidence for the status of diphthongs comes
from talking backwards. People who are able to talk backwards fluently usually operate
on phonemes, that is, they reverse the order of phonemes. Cowan, Braine & Leavitt (1985)
observe that eight out of ten English speaking subjects left the diphthongs intact when talking
backwards, while the other two tried to break them up. Interestingly, two German speakers
who were also tested consistently reversed the structure of the German diphthongs.

Grammar as Processor

in this error, only the nasal part of [] in string is anticipated and takes the postvocalic position incut.

(5) a. [knt] the [strig]

cut the string

In sum, it appears that single segments can be accessed separately in speech errors.
It is, however, a well-known fact that segments are not indivisible units either but
rather bundles of features. As it turns out, a fair number of phonological speech
errors reported in the literature may be analyzed as involving single features rather
than entiresegments.
2.2.1.2The manipulation of subsegmental features
Many phonological errors are ambiguous as to whether they involve whole segments or segmental features. This is true, for example, for the error given in (6a)
which may either be analyzed as a reversal of the segments /k/ and /t/ or as a
reversal of the features [coronal] and [+coronal] (Fromkin 1971:31). As a matter
of fact, Van den Broecke & Goldstein (1980) report that the relation between consonants interacting in segmental errors is not a random one but is dependent on
their phonological similarity. They point out that [t]ypically, one-feature errors
occur more often than two-feature errors, which again occur more often than
three-feature errors, etc. (Van den Broecke & Goldstein1980:48).
(6) a. teep a cape keep a tape
b. mity the due teacher, I mean, nity the poor teacher, no pity the new teacher
c. pig and vat big and fat
d. ich hr die Flhe hsten die Flhe husten

I
hear the fleas (error)  the fleas cough

I imagine things.

In contrast to the ambiguous case in (6a), the other three slips in (6) clearly evidence the independence of phonological features. In (6b), for instance, only the
feature [nasal] is exchanged in the first error step (with the redundant voicing
accommodation). Consequently, the /p/ of pity which is [nasal] becomes /m/
and the /n/ of new which is [+nasal] changes to /d/ (Fromkin 1971:35). Interestingly, in a first attempt to correct the error, the whole segments /p/ and /n/ are
exchanged; moreover, we observe lexical construal which turns the resulting nonword /pju:/ into the existing lexeme poor (also see Section6.6.2).
The example in (6c) exemplifies a change of value only for the feature [voiced].
Consequently, the /b/ of big which is [+voiced] becomes a voiceless /p/ , while the
/f/ in fat which is [voiced] is changed to a voiced /v/ (Fromkin 1971:36). Finally,
the German error in (6d) is best analyzed as a perseveration of the feature [back]

Grammar in use

of the segment // in Flhe (fleas). It is this very feature that turns the /u:/ of
husten (to cough) intoan /:/.7
Therefore, the above data indicate that distinctive features are psychologically
real in that they can be independently manipulated in speech errors in the same
way as segments (or feature complexes).8 Fromkin (1971:38), however, points out
that the claim that all distinctive features (as proposed by Chomsky and Halle)
are identical with phonetic properties that can in principle be independently controlled in speech is not borne out by the data of speech errors. She concludes that
in actual speech performance, only some of the features can be accessed independently (for example, [nasal], [voiced], and place features), while other features are
highly dependent on the existence of other properties of thesegment.
A more radical view is taken by Roberts (1975). He argues that all phonological errors should be treated as feature errors. That is, contrary to the generally
held position, he claims that there is no evidence for the syllable or segment as
independent linguistic units. Here, I only want to briefly mention one counterargument against Roberts proposal. Stemberger (1982b) points out that there
appear to be no word blends in which a new segment arises that is not part of one
of the intended words, but which would combine features of segments from the
two blended words. For instance, a blend of the two verbs cook and boil could very
well result in coil but not in *goil where the velarity of the /k/ in cook combines
with the voicedness of the /b/ in boil (Stemberger 1982b:241). Obviously and
contra Roberts in blends, all segments come as whole units from one of the two
target words. That is, features of a segment from one word never combine with
features of a segment from the competing word to produce a thirdsegment.
Brown (2002, 2004), too, argues against the dominant viewpoint that segments
are the units responsible for phonologically driven speech errors. His view, however, is less radical than that of Roberts since he claims that in sublexical errors,
there is positive evidence not only for distinctive features but also for prosodic
(syllabic) constituents. Still, he maintains that there is never any positive evidence

. Newkirk et al. (1980:184) report two American Sign Language slips which involve the
anticipation of a handshape feature. In one error of their corpus, for instance, it is not a handshape that is anticipated but rather the feature [+bent] of the handshape of the second sign.
That is, the selected finger of the first sign (the index finger) remain the same but its position
changes from extended to bent.
. A different view is taken by Klatt (1981). He argues that most errors can be interpreted as
segmental errors. He points out that, as a matter of fact, only three out of 6000 errors in the
MIT corpus can be unambiguously analyzed as featural errors.

Grammar as Processor

for segments and thus concludes that there is no need for a segmental level of
analysis inphonology.
Mowrey & MacKay (1990) go one step further by challenging the assumption
that features (and segments) are transposed in speech errors. In their study, they
report on the laboratory elicitation of sublexical speech errors by means of tongue
twisters such as She sells seashells by the seashore. In order to observe speech motor
activity in phonological errors, electromyography (EMG) was used. This method
implies that electrodes were inserted into the lower lip and into the tongue of subjects participating in the experiment and that subsequently, motor activity was
recorded and made visible by oscillographic traces. The obtained data show conclusive evidence of subphonemic errors, many of which would not have been noted
using the standard technique of transcribing errors. Most importantly, many of
the errors clearly indicate that subfeatural components, that is, individual muscular components of articulatory gestures, may be transposed in speech errors. For
instance, an [s] may be articulated with a strong labial component (typical of [])
but may still sound like [s]. Consequently, the change in muscular activity is only
revealed by the EMGrecording.
Based on their findings, Mowrey and MacKay criticize that little or no effort
has been made to address the problem of identifying the precise nature of the
errors accurately. Their results indicate that the problem of error characterization
is so pervasive as to render the significance of traditionally collected data corpora questionable. They conclude that it appears that errors which have been
consigned to the phonemic, segmental, or feature levels could be reinterpreted as
errors at the motor output level (Mowrey & MacKay1990:1311).
2.2.1.3Suprasegmentals
Finally, I want to briefly address the role of suprasegmentals in language production, such as stress, intonation, and tone. In early generative phonology (Chomsky
& Halle 1968), it was assumed that all phonological features including
suprasegmentals are features of segments (for example, [stress], [high tone]).
More recent phonological theories such as autosegmental phonology (Halle &
Vergnaud 1980; McCarthy 1981) and CV phonology (Clements & Keyser 1983),
however, posit separate tiers or levels for different types of suprasegmental features. On the basis of such theories, we predict that suprasegmentals are relatively
independent of the segments they are associated with and that segments, syllables, or words may be transposed without any effect on the associated suprasegmental features (Stemberger1984).
This prediction is in fact borne out. On the basis of speech error data, Fromkin
(1971) and Garrett (1975) both show that phrasal stress must be independent of
segments or even words, since there is no change in the stress pattern (or intonation

Grammar in use

contour) of the sentence when target units are disordered (also see Becker (1979),
who specifically argues in favour of an autosegmental representation of stress on
the basis of slip data). This phenomenon is illustrated by the examples in (7a) and
(7b). In (7a), two vowels are exchanged but phrasal stress remains in place (Garrett
1975:147), while in (7b), the stress pattern remains unaffected in a word exchange
(Fromkin 1973b:255).
(7) a. avoid the tre prening the tre prning
b. in her dll pper bx in her pper dll bx
c. kin khaaw lw kin khaaw lw

[] []
[]
[] []
[]

(Ive) already had dinner.

A particularly interesting example from Thai involving tonal features is given in


(7c). Standard Thai has five contrastive tones: rising, low, mid, falling, and high.
Gandour (1977) shows that suprasegmental tone features function independently
of other segmental features and that the disordering mechanisms that have been
proposed to account for consonant and vowel errors can also be applied to handle
tone errors, that is, tones may be anticipated, perseverated, and exchanged. In the
error (7c), for instance, a mid tone [] and a falling tone [] have been exchanged
(Gandour 1977: 132). Therefore, the Thai example exemplifies the opposite of
what we observe in the two English slips in (7): while suprasegmental features are
stranded in the English examples, suprasegmental features are exchanged in the
Thaiexample.9

. Besides that, Stemberger (1984) presents evidence for the autosegmental treatment of
length (McCarthy 1981). Based on an investigation of German (from Meringer & Mayer
1895), Swedish (from Sderpalm 1979), and English speech errors, he shows that in a large
majority of the German (80%) and Swedish (83.3%) errors, in which long and short vowels
interact, the misordered vowel does not retain its original length, but takes over the length of
the vowel it replaces. This is illustrated by the German slip in (i), where the anticipated [y] is
short in its original location but long at its landing site.

(i) so sht [zy:t], sieht [zi:t] das Glck [glyk] der
Ehe
aus!
so (error) looks
the happiness
of.the marriage particle
Thats what the happiness of marriage looks like!
Things are different in English, however, where in 41 out of 42 errors, in which a long and a short
vowel interact, the vowel retains its original length, as is shown in the perseveration in (ii) and
the exchange in (iii) (Stemberger 1984:905); also see the German slip (2a) in Section 6.1.1).

(ii) this ridiculously large bick, er, beak

(iii) I steel fill, still feel

Grammar as Processor

In summary of this subsection, we may note the following: there is a considerable amount of speech error evidence that proves that from a processing point of view the speech signal is not a continuous, indivisible sequence
but rather is divided into disrete units. It is, of course, intuitively clear that the
speech signal is made up of words and that words are made up of segments (and
possibly syllables). The error data, however, verify that at least some of these
units are not only convenient theoretical constructs but are actually processed
in on-line language production. The same is true for abstract entities such as
segmental and suprasegmental features. We may therefore conclude that these
units are psychologicallyreal.
2.2.2 Morphological complexity
Besides phonological structure, speech errors may also shed light on the processing
of morphological structure. In the psycholinguistic literature, it is a matter of debate
whether morphological information plays any role in producing or recognizing
words and whether a morphological level of processing is needed. In fact, it has
been argued that effects that are interpreted as the result of morphological relatedness might as well be attributed to semantic and/or phonological relatedness, since
most morphologically related words have both formal and semanticoverlap.
However, in many studies focusing on spontaneous speech errors, the psychological reality of morphological structure is taken to be evidenced by morphological speech errors, the most important type being the so-called stranding errors.10
The defining property of these errors is that only word stems are affected, while
other morphological material, such as derivational or inflectional affixes, remains
in its original position, that is, it is stranded in that position. Stranding errors
(as well as other morphological errors such as morpheme shifts) show that
morphological information can be accessed during processing and that single
morphemes can be detached and manipulatedindependently.11

Stemberger argues that length is suprasegmental and can therefore be dissociated from the
vowel to which it is linked. However, dissociability also depends on how cohesive sequences
in the language are; if a vowel and its associated structure are very cohesive, as in English, they
will rarely be dissociated in errors (Stemberger 1984:911).
. See MacKay (1979) for the discusson of various types of errors involving morphological
structure and abstract morphosyntactic features, such as affix substitutions, stem alternations,
misagreement errors, and regularization errors.
. Further evidence for an explicit level of representation for morphemes comes from experimentally induced speech errors (using the Word Order Competition technique). Pillon

Grammar in use

In this section, I will have a closer look at errors in which the morphological
structure of words plays a crucial role. I will start in Section 2.2.2.1 by considering
classical stranding errors in which different types of concatenative morphemes
are stranded in the error, also taking into account some language-specific phenomena. Stranding errors that involve the manipulation of non-concatenative
morphological structure, such as templatic morphology and reduplication, will be
subject to discussion in Section2.2.2.2.
2.2.2.1Stranding
As mentioned before, in a stranding error only part of a morphologically complex word, the word stem, is manipulated, while grammatical morphemes be
they derivational or inflectional remain unaffected. The German examples in (8)
illustrate some of the potential combinatory possibilities. Note that alle of the slips
in (8) are exchanges; however, stranding is also attested in anticipations, perseverations, and even blends. Moreover, it has been pointed out in the literature that
morphological errors involving derivational morphemes are less frequent than
inflectional errors (Fromkin 1973a; Garrett1980a).
In (8a), a derived adjective interacts with a compound. In the error, the word
stems Schreck (shock) and Schmerz (pain) are exchanged, while the derivational suffix -lich, the head of the compound Schmerzanfall (pain attack) and
the two plural suffixes remain in their original positions. Another combination
is illustrated by the slip in (8b). Again, two stems are exchanged the noun stem
Baum (tree) and the verb stem sterb (die) leaving behind one derivational
suffix (the non-category changing diminutive suffix -chen) and one inflectional
suffix (3rd person singular-t).12

(1998) and Melinger (2003) show for French and English, respectively, that morphological
errors are more frequent than phonological or syllable level errors in laboratory-induced settings. Their results support the inclusion of morpheme boundaries in the lexical representation of complex words and are best accounted for by models of speech production that
postulate a level of representation for morphemes.
. Note that in (8b), both the affected stems have been subject to a stem-internal change
(i.e., to a phonological readjustment rule) in their original positions: the diminutive triggers
umlaut in Baum (tree), while sterb (die) is subject to an ablaut rule in the 3rd person singular (see Section 3.2.3.2). Interestingly, the readjusted stems are exchanged and not their
base forms which would have given rise to mein Sterb-chen baum-t (see Section 6.7.1.1 for
further discussion of such stranding errors).

Grammar as Processor

(8) a. er leidet mal wieder unter schmerz-lich-en Schreck-anfll-en



he suffers once again from pain-adj-pl
shock-attack-pl

unter schreck-lich-en Schmerz-anfll-en


from shock-adj-pl pain-attack-pl

Once again, hes suffering from terrible pain attacks.

b. ich glaube, mein Stirb-chen bum-t mein Bum-chen stirb-t



I think my die-dim tree-3.sg my tree-dim die-3.sg

I think my little tree is dying.
c.

ich kann nur ber die


Teile kenn-en, die ich sprech-e
I can only about those parts know-inf that I speak-1.sg

ber die
Teile sprech-en, die ich kenn-e
about those parts speak-inf that I
know-1.sg

I can only talk about those parts, that I know.

Finally, in (8c) from Bierwisch (1982:32), we encounter an instance of two inflected


verbs interacting in the error. The verb stems sprech (speak) and kenn (know) are
exchanged but both inflectional endings the infinitival suffix -en as well as the
first person singular suffix -e are stranded in their respectiveslots.
It is a defining characteristic of stranding errors that free morphemes are
manipulated. Therefore, the grammatical structure of the utterance remains unaffected. The conceivable opposite case, that is, exchange of bound morphemes and
stranding of content words, is not attested. There is, for instance, no exchange error
in the Frankfurt corpus which would result in an utterance of the type mein Bum-t
stirb-chen (my tree-3.sg die-dim).13 Note that such an error is not excluded by the
principle of structural parallelism, since the displaced elements, two morphological
heads, are clearly structurallyparallel.
What elements exactly may strand is of course highly dependent on languagespecific word formation rules. In general, all types of derivational and inflectional
affixes may be stranded. The examples given in (9) illustrate some languagespecific phenomena involving stranding of affixes that exist neither in German
nor in English. In the Norwegian noun exchange in (9a), stranding affects the
definite article which is realized as the suffix -a attached to the noun sol (sun)

. Occasionally, however, a bound morpheme is shifted, as, for instance, the adverbial suffix
-ly in the English slip in (i) (Garrett 1980b:263) or the genitive -s in the German slip in (ii).

(i) easy enoughly easily enough

(ii) das Ende der


Schrecken-herrschaft-s
the end of.the terror-reign-gen
the end of the reign of terror

der Schrecken-s-herrschaft
the terror-gen-reign

Grammar in use

(Foldvik 1979:119). In the Turkish noun exchange (9b), the 1st person singular
possessive suffix as well as the locative suffix remain in their original positions.14
Finally, a possessive suffix, namely -ha (indicating 3rd person singular), is also
stranded in the Arabic utterance in (9c) (Abd-El-Jawad & Abu-Salim1987:153).
(9) a. ikke ei sol for
sky-a
ei sky for
sol-a

not one sun in.front.of cloud-art one cloud in.front.of sun-art

(There is) not a single cloud in front of the sun.
b. gne-im
yz-de
yz-m
gne-de

sun-poss.1.sg face-loc face-poss.1.sg sun-loc

My face is in the sun.
c. uxt zoo-ha
zoo
uxt-ha

sister husband-poss.3.sg husband sister-poss.3.sg

her sisters husband

While the suffixes involved in the above errors (definiteness, possessive, and
locative suffixes) may be language-specific, the type of morphological operation
involved, sequential affixation, is still the same as in the German examples in (8).
In the following section, I will turn to errors in which non-concatenative morphological processes play arole.
2.2.2.2Non-concatenative morphology
Even in languages that are predominantly characterized by sequential (concatenative) morphology, such as German and English, non-concatenative morphological
processes may be attested, sometimes in combination with sequential affixation
(see, for instance, the German example(8b)).
Waleschkowski (2004) and Hohenberger & Waleschkowski (2005) point out
that languages of the concatenative morphological type show a higher rate of
morphological errors than languages of the non-concatenative type (for example,
fusional languages or languages with simultaneous morphological processes, such
as, for instance, German Sign Language). In order to evaluate to what extent nonconcatenative morphemes are decomposable in on-line processing, they designed
an experimental task employing a repeat/reverse paradigm (Humphreys 2002).
Simplifying somewhat, in the experiment, subjects (n = 26) were asked to learn
short pairs of phrases by heart that contained singular and plural nouns, such

. Moreover, in this example, morphophonological accommodation of the stranded material plays a crucial role. For further discussion of morphophonological accommodation see
Section 6.1.2.

Grammar as Processor

as the ones given in (10).15 Note that in (10a), the plural is realized by a suffix
(concatenative morphology), while in (10b), it is realized by a stem-internal change
(umlaut, a non-concatenative morphological process). Following the target pair,
the subjects were presented two phrase pairs that primed the number pattern of
the target pair (for (10)singular-plural).
(10) a. das Auto reparier-en; die Lok-s
reinig-en

the car repair-inf; the locomotive-pl clean-inf

repair the car; clean the locomotives
b. den Vater ehr-en;
die Mtter
lieb-en

the father honour-inf; the mother.pl love-inf

honour the father; love the mothers

Under one experimental condition, subjects were asked to reverse the nouns of
the target pair. Hohenberger and Waleschkowski were primarily interested in the
distribution of root exchanges (that is, stranding of the number information) versus word exchanges. Both possible output patterns are given for the pair involving
concatenative plural morphology in (11a) and (11a) and for the pair involving
non-concatenative plural morphology in (11b) and(11b).
(11) a. die Lok-s
reparier-en; das Auto reinig-en

the locomotive-pl repair-inf; the car clean-inf

[word exchange]

a. die Lok
reparier-en; die Auto-s reinig-en

the locomotive repair-inf; the car-pl clean-inf

[root exchange]

b. die Mtter
ehr-en;
den Vater lieb-en

the mother.pl honour-inf; the father love-inf

[word exchange]

b. die Mutter ehr-en;


die Vter
lieb-en

the mother honour-inf; the father.pl love-inf

[root exchange]

Most of the output pairs in the reverse condition involved word exchanges
(67.2%); root exchanges were observed in only 10% of the output pairs.16 For the
. Actually, the experimental material comprised different morphological processes such
as inflection (e.g., tense, number), derivation (e.g., diminutive, nominalization), and compounding. Here, I only report on the part of the experiment involving plural morphology.
. Other output pairs involved word repetition (that is, cases in which the required exchange was not performed), affix exchanges, omissions, and others.
See Hohenberger & Waleschkowski (2005) for the results of a similar experiment involving German Sign Language pairs that include signs undergoing various concatenative and
non-concatenative morphological processes.

Grammar in use

root exchanges, a clear result was obtained with respect to the different types of
morphology: the regular concatenative plural inflection -s was stranded twice as
often as the irregular non-concatenative plural inflection. In other words: output
(11a) was more likely than output(11b).
The authors take this as evidence for the claim that regular morphology is processed differently from irregular morphology. In particular, they take their result
to support the dual-route model of morphology which assumes that regular forms
undergo decomposition in on-line processing, while irregular forms have separate lexical entries and are therefore not decomposed (see, for example, Pinker &
Prince (1994)). Still, the data show that occasionally, a non-concatenative morpheme can be detached from the root, too. This observation receives further support from spontaneous speech errors in which abstract morphemes are stranded
or shifted (see Sections 5.4 and 6.3 for furtherdiscussion).
Non-concatenative morphology does not always imply stem-internal
alternations (as in (10b) above). Particularly intriguing morphological error
patterns in which non-concatenative morphemes are affected have been
reported for Arabic. As is well-known, word formation processes in Arabic are
fundamentally different from word formation in the Germanic and Romance
languages. For a large part, morphological processes in Arabic are of a templatic (discontinuous) nature, that is, word stems are formed on the basis of
a triliteral root, a fixed sequence of three consonants, between which vowels
are inserted. The sequence of C- and V-positions (the CV-skeleton or prosodic template) is always fixed for a given derivation.17 The existence of such
a morphological pattern raises the question whether such discontinuous morphemes (transfixes) may also be subject to stranding in speech errors. The slip
in (12a) verifies that stranding of discontinuous morphemes is indeed attested.
What is exchanged in this example are merely the consonantal roots k-l-m and
s-- 1 and 4 in the illustration in (12b), while the stem-forming vowels
(2 and 5) are stranded (Abd-El-Jawad & Abu-Salim 1987:149). Moreover, we
observe stranding of the 3rd person singular possessive suffix (3) just as in
(9c) above (for discussion of Arabic slips also see Safi-Stagni (1990) and Berg &
Abd-El-Jawad(1996)).

. There are 15 different derivational classes (binyanim) for the triliteral roots which determine the arrangement of the root consonants with respect to the vowel positions. The precise
nature of these derivations is quite intricate and the reader is referred to McCarthy (1981) and
Spencer (1991:134ff) for details.

Grammar as Processor

(12) a.


b.

saaa-a
kaliim kalaam-ha
saii
(error)-poss.3.sg (error)  talk-poss.3.sg correct
What she says is correct.
1

k a l aa m - ha

s a ii

The last type of non-concatenative morphological process I want to consider is reduplication. Reduplication, while clearly being a sequential operation, is still usually
considered non-concatenative since it does not involve the addition of a fixed suffix but rather (exact or inexact) copy of stem material (Marantz 1982). Stemberger
& Lewis (1986:151) take reduplication to be [o]ne of the more extreme forms of
phonologically dependent allomorphy. In a small-scale study, they address the role
of reduplication in experimentally elicited speech errors in Ewe, a Kwa language
spoken in Ghana and Togo. In Ewe, many inflectional operations are realized by
reduplication, one of these being the formation of verbal participles which involve
prefixation of a copy of the first stem consonant and stem vowel to the stem, as in, for
example, si (escape) sisi (escape.part) and dzra (sell) dzadzra(sell.part).
In particular, Stemberger & Lewis (1986) investigate whether in elicited consonant exchanges, the exchanged consonant occurs in the base and the reduplicant of the participle, only in the base, or only in the reduplicant. To that end,
they presented pairs of words to the subjects. All words were existing monosyllabic (CV) words in Ewe and every first element in a pair was a verb. As in the
Hohenberger & Waleschkowski (2005) study discussed above, a certain structural pattern was primed by three word pairs that preceded the target pair. In this
case, the pattern was a sequence of consonants. In (13), for instance, the primed
pattern is h-f. Subjects then saw a target pair with reverse pattern (f-h) and they
were asked to repeat the pair at the same time transforming the first member of
the pair into the participleform.
(13) a. priming pairs:



target pair:

correct response:

he
ho
he
fa
fafa

fu
fe
fi
ho
ho

As hoped, in some cases, the subjects response included a phoneme exchange or


anticipation (as primed by the previous pairs). Although in total only 24 errors were
found, the pattern that emerged was pretty clear. In 20 cases (83%), the exchanged

Grammar in use

or anticipated consonant appeared in the base and the reduplicant of the first element (erroneous response for the list in (13): haha fo). In the other four cases, the
exchanged consonant appeared only in the reduplicated syllable, not in the stem of
the first element (erroneous response for (13): hafa fo). This is taken as evidence
for the fact that, for the most part, the error takes place at an early stage of processing, that is, before the stem is reduplicated.18 In other words: reduplication, just like
sequential affixation and other non-concatenative processes is psychologicallyreal.
Taken together, the above examples neatly illustrate that the processor has
access to morphological structure during language production. Inflectional as well
as derivational affixes may strand in an error and, moreover, language-specific word
formation rules influence the observed error patterns. Note that in later chapters
of this book, the notion of morpheme stranding will be refined (see Sections 5.4
and 6.3). In particular, adopting Distributed Morphology ideas, I will argue that
what is stranded is either an abstract morpheme (derivational morphology) or some
morphosyntactic feature (inflectional morphology). On the basis of this argument,
I will revise the claim that the language processor must have access to morphological structure. Moreover, stranding can occur before or after Vocabulary insertion
has taken place. Only in the former case, a grammatical outcome is guaranteed
(see Section 6.7.1.1 for furtherdiscussion).
2.2.3 Syntactic transformations
As pointed out above, Katz (1964) argues that the grammar plays a decisive role
in on-line language processing, that is, in parsing and language production. The
. The second most common type of error, the one which has the erroneous consonant only
in the reduplicant (hafa fo), is assumed to be the result of a late error occurring after reduplication has taken place. Stemberger & Lewis (1986) point out that the third type of conceivable
error, the one in which the anticipated consonant would appear only in the base but not in the
reduplicant (faha fo), is unlikely to occur because the reduplicant is not identical to the base.
It is worth pointing out, however, that this last type of error should be possible if it took place
after reduplication of the base. Just like hafa fo, it would constitute a late phonological error,
the only difference being that in hafa fo, the interacting consonants occupy a structurally parallel position, the word-initial position. In fact, it is quite likely that this structural parallelism
favours hafa fo over faha fo (remember that the correct response is fafa ho), since it is wellknow that in spontaneous speech errors, too, an error like the one in (i) is much more likely
than the (hypothetical) error in (ii).

(i) eine telbe
Gasche eine gelbe Tasche
a
(error) (error) a
yellow bag
(ii) eine gelte
Basche eine gelbe Tasche
a
(error) (error) a
yellow bag

Grammar as Processor

crucial role of the grammar is, of course, not restricted to phonological and morphological structure. Rather, the syntactic make-up of a sentence may also have an
important impact on its processing. In this context, one central question that arises
is: what kinds of syntactic constituents are actually processed? Not surprisingly, it
was demonstrated in a number of psycholinguistic studies that the sentence as well
as the clause that is, a part of a sentence that has a subject and a predicate are
major processing units. Jarvella (1971), for instance, was able to show that there is
a clause boundary effect in recallingwords.
One particularly controversial technique that was used to explore the size of
syntactic units in parsing is the so-called click displacement technique (Fodor &
Bever 1965; Garrett, Bever & Fodor 1966). The basic idea of this technique is that
major processing units resist interruption. The experimental setting was as follows
(see T.Harley 1995). Subjects heard speech over headphones in one ear that was
interrupted by extraneous clicks in the other ear at certain points in the sentence.
It was predicted that even if the click appears in the middle of a constituent, it
should be perceived as falling at a constituent boundary. This prediction was borne
out. For example, a click presented at point * in the sentence That he was* happy
was evident from the way he smiled, was reported by the listeners to appear after
the word happy. In other words, the click was displaced by the listeners in order to
maintain the integrity of the syntactic constituent. This result was taken to verify
that the clause is a major unit of syntacticprocessing.
Note that click experiments are post-perceptual. This, however, is not true
for spontaneous speech errors which therefore do not show a memory bias. Certain speech errors point to the psychological reality of phrasal units such as DPs
and VPs in language production. Consider, for instance, the two exchanges in
(14a) and(14b).
(14) a. I got into [this guy] with [a discussion] into a discussion with this guy
b. He [facilitated what he was doing] to [remove the barricade]
he removed the barricade to facilitate what he was doing
c. theres an [island] on the [small restaurant] a small restaurant on
the island

In (14a), two DPs are exchanged (Garrett 1980a: 192), while in (14b), two VPs
change place (Garrett 1980a:188). Note that in example (14b), the tense features
are stranded. Exchanges of intermediate projections are less frequent. Fromkin
(1988: 129) reports one such case, given in (14c), where small restaurant is an
N-constituent. Interestingly, in this error, both determiners accommodate to the
exchangedelements.
However, psycholinguistic investigations were not only concerned with the
psychological reality of syntactic constituents, but also with the influence of

Grammar in use

syntactic structure and syntactic operations on the processing of a sentence. In the


remainder of this section, I will first discuss the results of reaction time experiments that investigated the psychological reality of syntactic transformations.
While studies in the tradition of the Derivational Theory of Complexity (to be
introduced in the next section) investigated the reality of the movement operations themselves, in later experiments, an attempt was made to furnish proof for
the existence of empty categories (Section 2.2.3.2). Only in Section 2.2.3.3, I will
return to spontaneous speech errors, in particular, errors that were taken as evidence for the misapplication of some transformationalrule.
2.2.3.1The Derivational Theory of Complexity
Linguistics has provided a formal apparatus for describing the syntactic structure
of sentences and for relating certain linguistic structures to others by means of
syntactic transformations. But what does this formal approach contribute to our
understanding of the mechanisms involved in on-line language processing? When
Chomskys work first appeared (Chomsky 1957), there was great optimism that it
would also provide an account of the processes involved in producing and understanding syntacticstrings.
Supporters of the so-called Derivational Theory of Complexity (DTC), for
instance, claimed that the processing complexity of a given sentence is determined
by the number of syntactic transformations that were applied in deriving its surface structure. Miller & McKean (1964) were the first ones to experimentally test
the idea that the more transformations were applied in a sentence, the more difficult it is to process. They investigated detransformation reaction times for sentences such as those given in (15), which according to the authors show an
increasing derivationalcomplexity.
(15) a. The robot shoots the ghost.

active affirmative: 0 transformations
b. The ghost is shot by the robot.

passive affirmative: 1 transformation
c. The ghost is not shot by the robot.

passive negative: 2 transformations
d. Is the ghost not shot by the robot?

passive negative question: 3 transformations

Sentence (15a) in which according to early generative theories no transformational rule has applied served as a baseline. It is possible to derive increasingly
complex sentences from this kernel sentence. Sentence (15d), for example, is
derived from (15a) by the application of three transformations: passivization, negativization, and question formation. Miller and McKean observed that the time

Grammar as Processor

needed to process sentences such as (15b), (15c), and (15d), that is, to detransform
them back to the underlying sentence (15a), was linearly related to the number of
transformations that are involved. This finding was interpreted as supporting the
psychological reality of transformational rules, since apparently transformations
have an impact on the processingcomplexity.19
In further investigations, however, these conclusions were called into question. In an experiment similar to that of Miller and McKean, Slobin (1966) examined the processing of reversible (16a) and irreversible (16b) passive sentences.
He found that Miller and McKeans results could only be obtained for reversible
passives. That is, the time needed to process related irreversible active (16c) and
passive (16b) sentences is approximately thesame.
(16) a. The ghost was chased by the robot.
b. The flowers were watered by the robot.
c. The robot watered the flowers.

This result implies that the DTC is not always true and that other factors than the
transformational complexity may also have an impact on the processingtime.20
Moreover, Fodor & Garrett (1967), were able to demonstrate that the processing of some transformationally complex sentences did not require the predicted
time. For example, sentences with double self-embedding as, for instance, The first
shot the tired soldier the mosquito bit fired missed are particularly difficult to process.
But obviously, the transformational derivation cannot be held responsible for this
difficulty, since it turned out that these sentences are easier to understand when
they are made grammatically more complex by the application of further transformational rules as, for instance, by the double application of a passive transformation, as in The first shot fired by the tired soldier bitten by the mosquitomissed.
2.2.3.2The psychological reality of empty elements
In later versions of the generative framework (Chomsky 1973, 1981), it is assumed
that in the transition from a deep structure to a surface structure representation, elements are moved leaving behind a trace in their original position. A
moved DP and its trace are said to be coreferential. Before turning to the processing of traces, I shall say a few words about the processing of pronouns in
on-linecomprehension.
. In other studies, it was shown that transformational distance between sentences also
predicts confusability between them in memory and that the ease of memorizing sentences
is predicted by the number of transformations that have applied to them (Mehler 1963).
. Also see Forster & Olbrei (1973) and Marslen-Wilson & Tyler (1980) for the interaction
of semantic/pragmatic and syntactic factors in language processing.

Grammar in use

Amongst other things, Cloitre & Bever (1988) examine whether the existence
of an anaphoric relation between a DP and a coreferential pronoun facilitates the
retrieval of an adjective that is part of the DP. In their experiment, participants
were presented with sequences of sentences like the one given in(17).
(17) a. [DP The skinny bellboy]i did a softshoe routine in the lobby.
b. The hotel guests were amazed by himi.
b. The hotel guests could not believe their eyes.

In one test version, participants were presented with the sentences (17a) and (17b)
in succession, in the other, with the sentences (17a) and (17b). In both cases, the
probe word was the adjective skinny that is part of the subject DP of the first sentence. That is, the participants were asked to decide as quickly as possible whether
the probe word was contained in the text. It turned out that the decision latencies
were shorter after presentation of sentence (17b) which contains the anaphoric
pronoun him. From this, Cloitre & Bever (1988) conclude that the implicit repetition of the DP containing the probe word by means of a pronoun allows for a faster
recognition of the probeword.
This observation leads to the question whether phonetically empty coreferential elements (as, for instance, traces) facilitate the retrieval of an antecedent
DP in the same way as anaphorical pronouns do. This question was investigated
in a study by Bever & McElree (1988). In this study, participants were to read sentences of the following types (note that no participant was presented with both
versions of onesentence).
(18) a. [DP The astute lawyer who faced the female judge]i was certain [tDP]I to
argue during the trial.
b. [DP The astute lawyer who faced the female judge] hated the long speech
during the trial.

In the raising construction (18a), the DP is moved from its underlying position to
the beginning of the sentence leaving behind a trace ([tDP]), while in the control sentence (18b), the same DP is not moved. As in Cloitre & Bever (1988), the probe word
was the adjective contained in the subject DP (astute in the above example). Bever &
McElree (1988) found that compared to the control sentence the trace in the raising construction did indeed facilitate the recognition of the probe word. Obviously,
coreferential empty categories behave in a way similar to anaphoric pronouns. The
authors take this to be strong evidence for the psycholinguistic reality of linguistically defined traces: when the trace is detected in on-line processing, its antecedent is
retrieved and the elements contained in the antecedent become moreaccessible.
Bever & McElree (1988) also investigated PRO constructions, such as the
one given in (19a). The results show that PRO constructions also elicited faster

Grammar as Processor

probe recognition times than the control sentences. The reaction time difference
between PRO and raising constructions was only marginally significant. In yet
another experiment, the authors considered passive constructions with a trace in
object position, such as the one given in (19b). Again, probe adjective recognition
times were faster following the passive than following the control sentence without
trace in (19c).21
(19) a. [The astute lawyer who faced the female judge]i strongly hoped PROi to
argue during the trial.
b. [The astute lawyer who faced the female judge]i was suspected ti by the boys.
c. [The astute lawyer who faced the female judge] had spoken to the boys.

In sum, the results from the comprehension experiments indicate that highly
abstract syntactic elements, such as empty elements, are psychologically really.
Just like overt anaphoric elements they prime (information contained in)
theirantecedents.
2.2.3.3Transformational errors
All of the results reported above were obtained in studies dealing with language
comprehension. But what about syntactic operations in language production? It
is clear that the process of language production is not as readily controlled in an
experimental setting, for instance, by means of reaction timeexperiments.
In this respect, too, spontaneous speech errors may possibly provide important
insights. If we think of a speech production device as applying transformations to
an underlying (deep) structure, we can make predictions about possible malfunctions of this device. In two studies, Fay (1980a,b) examines slips of the tongue that
he takes to result from the wrong or non-application of a transformational rule.
On the basis of his data, he hypothesizes that speech production involves a direct
realization of a transformational grammar (in the style of Chomsky(1965)).
Fay points out that in general, a transformation consists of three parts: a
structural analysis, a structural change, and conditions on the application of the
rule. He shows that each of these aspects is error-prone. Turning first to the structural analysis, he points out that this part of a rule may go wrong in three ways
(Fay 1980b). First, a phrase marker may be misanalyzed in a way such that the
rule applies when it should, but applies incorrectly. Second, a phrase marker may
be misanalyzed in a way such that an obligatory rule does not apply at all. Third,
the transformational device may misanalyze a phrase marker so as to allow a rule

. See MacDonald (1989), McElree & Bever (1989), and Bever, Straub, Shenkman, Kim &
Carrithers (1990) for further experiments dealing with this issue.

Grammar in use

to apply when it should not. A particularly illuminating example from his corpus
for the first type of error is the one given in(20a).
(20) a. Why do you be an oaf sometimes? Why are you an oaf sometimes?
b. deep structure:

wh-fronting:

*subject-aux inversion:

do-support:

morphophonemics:

Q you pres be an oaf sometimes why


why you pres be an oaf sometimes
why pres you be an oaf sometimes
why do+pres you be an oaf sometimes
why do you be an oaf sometimes?

The transformational derivation of the error is sketched in (20b). According to Fay,


the subject-auxiliary inversion (SAI) transformation has misanalyzed the structure
to which it applies. Wh-fronting is correctly executed, but then the SAI rule fails
to move the verb be along with the tense marker to the left of the subject pronoun.
That is, SAI is applied incorrectly. Since the tense marker does not have a lexical
carrier in the erroneous utterance, do-support is triggered. Fay concludes that the
error follows naturally as a consequence of a single mistake in applying arule.
The second type of structural analysis error (incorrect decision not to apply
a rule) is exemplified by the slip in (21). In this example, the wh-fronting rule
was omitted so that the wh-phrase which ear remains in its deep structure position. This explanation is strengthened by the fact that no errors are observed in
which a wh-phrase is shifted into any other position than that which it occupies
at deepstructure.22
(21) Linda, do you talk on the telephone with [which ear]?
Linda, which ear do you talk on the telephone with?

I shall not discuss the third type of structural analysis error Fay suggests (that is,
application of a rule when it should not apply) and turn to the structural change
part of a transformation. Even when the production device has correctly analyzed a
phrase marker and performed a transformation, errors may still be made in carrying out a follow-up transformation. In particle movement, for instance, an element
is first copied into a new position and then the original is deleted. Fay assumes that
the error in (22) is due to an omission of the obligatory deletion operation. Consequently, the particle on appears twice in the erroneousutterance.
(22) Do I have to put on my seat belt on? Do I have to put on my seat belt?

. Cutler (1980a) points out that this error may also have a conceptual cause. She shows
that the intonation contour of the error is that of a yes/no question such as Linda, do you talk
on the telephone with your right ear? (the prosody of the error had been phonetically transcribed). It is therefore possible that (21) is a sentence blend, not a transformational error.

Grammar as Processor

Note that due to the fact that the rule of particle movement is optional, the slip in
(22) can also be analyzed as a blend of the two competing sentence frames Do I
have to put on my seat belt and Do I have to put my seat belton.
Particle movement, however, is obligatory when the object DP is a pronoun,
and this brings us to the third part of a transformation, namely the conditions on
transformations. Errors may also result from violations of such conditions. In the
following example, for instance, the condition on particle movement is not satisfied. According to Fay, the movement rule is treated as being optional (as in (22))
and therefore, the particle is not moved. In (23), however, the application of the
rule is obligatory due to the presence of a pronominal object (note that a sentence
like His secretary types up the manuscript is fullygrammatical).
(23) His secretary types up it His secretary types it up

In view of the data, Fay concludes that transformations, like other mental operations, may be subject to malfunction. Hence, the data support the claim that transformations are carried out as mental operations in speechproduction.
It should be emphasized, however, that for many of the errors discussed by Fay,
other non-transformational explanations are available (some of them might, for
example, be analyzed as blends or shift errors). Stemberger (1982a) criticizes Fays
analyses and tries to account for the properties of naturally occurring syntactic speech
errors in a model that does not assume transformational rules. In particular, he discusses syntactic errors in terms of the selection of phrase structures in an interactive
activation model. If a related phrase structure becomes overactivated, it may inhibit
the target structure and replace it, even if it is not the appropriate one. According
to Stemberger (1982a), this kind of phrasal substitution accounts for the erroneous
application of a transformation as well as for application failures (as in (20), (21),
and (23)). In contrast to that, phrasal blends can account for the apparent failure of a
part of a transformation (as in (22)). Stemberger therefore concludes that theories of
syntax that make no use of transformations but generate surface structure directly
also have the potential to be psychologically real models of syntacticprocessing.

2.3 Conclusion
In this chapter, I introduced some of the basic assumptions of a mentalistic linguistic theory. I pointed out that a mentalistic theory is not content with investigating
the observable linguistic behavior but rather takes into account mental processes
involved in the generation of an utterance. Most importantly, it is assumed that
a speaker has internalized a generative grammar that expresses his knowledge
of language and, moreover, determines and constrains his linguistic behavior.

Grammar in use

Therefore, the actual performance data may provide valuable evidence on the
basis of which hypotheses about linguistic structures and rules can betested.
In order to illustrate possible relations between grammatical constructs and
performance data, I presented results from a number of studies that investigate
the psychological reality of such linguistic structures and rules. As it turns out,
speech error data supply valuable evidence for the on-line processing of phonological units such as abstract features, segments, and suprasegmentals. Moreover,
they provide evidence for the psychological reality of morphological units no
matter whether they are concatenative or non-concatenative in nature and
phrasal units. The situation, however, is not as clear with respect to syntactic
operations. While results from comprehension experiments indicate that empty
categories (traces) are in fact processed in on-line comprehension, most of the
available production data furnish only weak evidence for the psychological reality
of syntactictransformations.

chapter 3

Theoretical background
Having established that spontaneous speech errors constitute valuable evidence
when it comes to testing hypotheses concerning the psychological reality of linguistic representations and processes, I shall now introduce the basic properties of
the psycholinguistic and the grammar model I adopt, that is, the multi-level model
of language production (Section 3.1) and Distributed Morphology (Section 3.2),
respectively. In both sections, I will focus on characteristics of the models that will
turn out to be important for the analysis of error data from my corpus in subsequent
chapters, while neglecting those details that are not directly relevant in the present
context. Remember that ultimately, it is my goal to evaluate to what extent the time
course of the (morpho)syntactic derivation as assumed in Distributed Morphology
can be mapped onto the time course of processing as assumed in multi-level models of language production or viceversa.

3.1 Multi-level models of language production


As mentioned before, Victoria Fromkin was the first one to develop a performance
model on the basis of slips of the tongue (Fromkin 1971). Beyond providing evidence for the psychological reality of linguistic entities, her main aim was to relate
the characteristic properties of various error types to certain planning mechanisms
and processing stages in a performancemodel.
The same approach is pursued by Merrill Garrett. In 1975, he presented a
strictly serial model of language production which further developed Fromkins
ideas and which had an important influence on research on language processing
in the years to follow. In contrast to comprehension models, language production
models must account for the real-time construction of an utterance based on the
specific meaning that a speaker wishes to convey on a given occasion. Therefore,
above all, language production models are driven by an interpretation of conceptual
content that gives rise to the communicative intent of a speaker (Garrett2000).
Three aspects of language production models will be considered in this section: first, the distinction of sequentially ordered processing levels (Section 3.1.1);
second, the retrieval of lexical items in production (Section 3.1.2); and third, the
flow of information between processing levels (Section3.1.3).

Grammar as Processor

3.1.1 Processing levels


Garretts work as well as that of many other researchers examining the properties
of spontaneously occurring speech errors indicates that language production is
in fact a multi-stage process. The process of speech production falls into three
broad areas (see Levelt (1989) and Levelt, Roelofs & Meyer (1999) for details). At
the highest level are the processes of conceptualization that concern the speakers
intention which in turn determines the concepts that are to be expressed (sometimes called message-level processes or conceptual stratum). The subsequent
processes of formulation involve translating this conceptual representation into a
linguistic form (called lemma stratum and form stratum in Levelt et al. (1999)).
Finally, the process of articulation which involves detailed phonetic and articulatory planning is executed by the articulatory system (see Levelt (1989) for a review
of motor control theories of speech production). In Figure (1), I sketch the basic
structure of the language production system (Garrett (1975); a more detailed version will follow):
(1)

MESSAGE SOURCE
(conceptualisation)

potential levels of
psychological representation
for sentences

translation
processes
(formulation)

?
instructions to articulators

ARTICULATORY SYSTEM
(utterance of a sentence)

This sequence of processing stages from intention to articulation that is, thought
before utterance is probably intuitively plausible. However, in a series of papers,
Garrett (1975, 1976, 1980a, 2000) argues that the formulation (translation) process,
too, can be subdivided into a series of distinct levels of processing (the potential
levels of psychological representation in (1)). Crucially, processing in the model
occurs in a strict temporal order: the sequence of levels is fixed and the flow
of information is strictly top-down. Therefore, the operations executed at each
level cannot influence each other, that is, there is no interaction between levels
in the sense of an exchange of information. Moreover, every level uses its own

Theoretical background

processing vocabulary and is therefore only capable of dealing with information


which matches thatvocabulary.
According to Garrett (1980a), the most important evidence for the distinction of separate processing levels comes from the investigation of exchange errors.
On closer examination, it turns out that these errors show different characteristics depending on what kinds of elements are exchanged. In particular, closer
examination of word exchanges and sound exchanges shows that these are only
superficially similar. Garrett notes two significant differences. For the most part,
the elements involved in word exchanges come from different phrases but are of
the same grammatical category, as is true for the slips in (2a) and (2b) both of
which involve the exchange of nouns from different DPs ((2b) is from Garrett
(1980a:188)). In contrast, sound exchanges typically occur phrase-internally and
involve segments from words of different grammatical categories. In (2c), the
affected segments originate from an adjective and a noun which are adjacent to
each other in a DP, while the exchanged segments in (2d) come from a verb and a
noun that are combined in a VP (Fromkin 1973b:245).
(2) a. Eine Theorie ist eine Grammatik des Wissens

a
theory is a
grammar
of knowledge

eine Grammatik ist eine Theorie des Wissens


a
grammar
is a
theory of knowledge

A grammar is a theory of knowledge.

b. this spring has a seat in it this seat has a spring in it


c. das
sind die wirklich feltenen Slle

these are the really (error) (error)

These are the really rare cases.

seltenen Flle
rare
cases

d. he caught torses taught courses

Garrett (1980a) notes that these two properties phrasal membership and grammatical category are clearly related to each other: the likelihood of correspondence
of grammatical category is affected by whether the error is phrase-internal ornot.
The distributional features of exchange errors suggest an interesting interpretation, namely that they arise at different processing levels. On the one hand, word
exchanges must occur at a point at which the syntactic category of units is part of
the processing vocabulary.1 Moreover, the fact that the exchanged elements may
appear at some distance from each other suggests that the processing domain is

. See Section 6.4.4 for a different account which in the spirit of DM does not involve syntactic categories. Crucially, in DM, categorial membership cannot be a determining factor since
the elements that are manipulated in the syntax are acategorial in nature (see Section 3.2.2).

Grammar as Processor

the whole sentence. Garrett calls this stage in the processing of an utterance the
functional level. On the other hand, since sound exchanges are not subject to
the syntactic category constraint, they are assumed to occur at a point at which
the syntactic category of elements is not part of the processing vocabulary. Rather,
phonological (and morphological) properties of words are processed phrase by
phrase, which also explains why, for the most part, segment exchanges occur
phrase-internally. In Garretts sentence production model, this processing level is
called positionallevel.2
3.1.2 Lexical retrieval
Another central property of the model concerns the lexical retrieval of items in
production. The retrieval of lexical items is the process in speech production
whereby a speaker turns thoughts/concepts into sounds. With respect to lexical
retrieval, two important questions arise. First, how many stages are involved in
lexical retrieval? And second, are these stages independent, or do they interact
with eachother?
On the basis of characteristic properties of whole word substitutions, many
psycholinguists have argued for a two-stage theory of lexical retrieval, where
the first stage is semantically organized, while the second one is based on phonological properties (for example, Fromkin 1971; Garrett 1975, 1980a; Dell &
Reich 1981; Butterworth 1989; Levelt 1989, 1992). The different types of substitutions are illustrated by the noun substitutions in (3) two each from German
and English. In (3a), the intended noun Kalorien (calories) and the erroneous noun Alkohol (alcohol) are semantically related; the same is true for the
planned item collar and the intruder belt in (3b) (Fromkin 1973b:262). In contrast, the nouns Phrase/Phase (3c) and apartment/appointment in (3d) (Garrett
1980a:207) share phonological (word onset, number of syllables) and possibly
morphologicalproperties.

. Further evidence for the division of separate levels within the translation process comes
from stranding errors like the one in (i) (Fromkin 1973b:259).

(i) a maniac for weekend-s a weekend for maniac-s

Obviously, in this error, the morpheme maniac has been accessed independently of its plural
affix, that is, the plural information is stranded (see Section 5.4.1). Furthermore, weekend
appears with the appropriate plural allomorph [z], not with [s], as would be appropriate in
the intended environment. This morphophonological accommodation (see Section 6.1.2) to
the post-error environment suggests that the exchange takes place before the plural suffix is
phonologically specified.

Theoretical background

(3) a. Kartoffeln sollen auch nicht



potatoes shall also not

so viel
Alkohol
so much alcohol

haben
have

so viele Kalorien
so many calories

Supposedly, potatoes do not have that many calories either.

b. he got hot under the belt under the collar


c. das ist ja
eine ziemlich abgedroschene Phase, h, Phrase

this is mod.part a
rather hackneyed
phase, er, phrase

Thats quite a hackneyed phrase.
d. Ive got an apartment now an appointment

According to the two-stage hypothesis, processing proceeds from the semantic


level to an intermediate level where individual words are represented in an abstract
form. At this level, lexical selection does not retrieve word forms but rather lemmas, that is, units which are only semantically and syntactically specified. Only
after lemma selection is accomplished, the phonological forms of words (the lexemes) are retrieved at a subsequent processing level. In Garretts model, the first
stage of lexical access, the selection of lemmas, is taken to occur at the functional
level, while the second stage, the retrieval of phonological forms, takes place at the
positional level. A more complete version of the language production model in (1),
which takes into account the characteristics of substitution errors sketched above,
is given in (4); this is a simplified version of the Levelt model (Levelt 1989: 9),
enriched with some of Garrettsterminology.
(4)
CONCEPTUALIZER
message generation

FORMULATOR
grammatical encoding
(functional level)
phonological encoding
(positional level)

ARTICULATOR

LEXICON
lemmas
forms

Grammar as Processor

With the help of the double retrieval theory, the different kinds of word substitutions are readily explained: meaning-based errors arise in lemma selection,
while form-based errors arise in lexeme selection.3 However, as will become
clear in the next section, the assumption of a strict division of tasks has not
remainedunchallenged.
3.1.3 Flow of information
Remember that Garrett assumes a strict separation of processing levels. That
is, the phonological specification of an utterance (at the positional level) only
begins after lemma retrieval (at the functional level) has been completed.
Therefore, in his model, phonological processes cannot have any influence
upon lemma selection and consequently, semantic and phonological processes
should not overlap in lexical retrieval. As a consequence, we expect to find
meaning-based substitutions and form-based substitutions (as in (3)) but not
mixed errors in which the intruding element is both semantically and phonologically related to the target. Various authors, however, have argued that
semantic substitutions are facilitated by phonological similarity (Dell & Reich
1981; Butterworth 1982; T.Harley 1984, 1993; Dell 1986; Cutting & Ferreira
1999; Harley & MacAndrew 2001). Possible examples are given in (5). Note
that the phonologically related nouns in (5a) both refer to time concepts, while
the ones in (5b) are both related to music (Fromkin 1973b:262).4
(5) a. am
nchsten Monat, h, Montag

on.the next
month, er, Monday

next Monday
b. were playing the art of the flute of the fugue

Another argument in favour of weakening the independent level hypothesis is


brought forward by Dell & Reich (1981). They observe that a fair amount of phonological errors is characterized by lexical bias, which implies that these errors

. Moreover, the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon can be interpreted as success of the first


stage of lexical retrieval but failure of the second (Brown & McNeill 1966).
. An analysis of meaning-based noun substitutions from the Frankfurt corpus with
respect to phonological similarity of target and intruder is presented in Wiegand (1994). She
concludes that, at least in this corpus, semantic substitutions do not display phonological
facilitation.

Theoretical background

result in existing words more often than is expected by chance (for instance, the
existing word reel in the sound exchange reel feally bad feel really bad; also see
some of the phonological errors in Section 2.2.1above).
The authors conclude that the processing levels cannot be completely independent of each other and that therefore, the independent level hypothesis has to
be rejected. The simplest solution, they claim, is to allow interaction between the
levels. Feedback between the phonological level and the lemma level explains the
tendency of a combined influence on substitution errors as well as the lexical bias
in sound errors. Production models which endorse feedback between the processing levels are called interactive activation or spreading activation models
(Stemberger 1985; Dell 1986, 1988; Berg1988).
Interactive activation models, too, discriminate different processing levels,
but the independence of these levels is undermined by ubiquitous feedback. Still,
the flow of activation in these models is not completely unconstrained, that is,
there is no absolute but only relative interactivity. Hence, the planning process
is organized in a weakly heterarchical fashion. The flow of information may very
well proceed in both directions but obviously, the flow towards the articulator
has the greatest share in speech production (Schade1992).5
In the following, I do not intend to argue for or against one or the other
type of model, since the question of strictly serial versus interactive processing is not at issue here. What I take to be particularly important in the present
context is that both the modular as well as the spreading activation architectures
endorse processing at several levels with distinct information being available at
eachlevel.

. In a truly connectionist (or parallel distributed processing (PDP)) model of language


production, this restriction does not hold. Like the spreading activation models, the PDP
approach makes use of spreading activation in a network. But it adds the important concepts of distributed representations and learning (Rumelhart & McClelland 1986). The PDP
and the spreading activation approach differ from each other with respect to the question
of the representation of linguistic rules. In the spreading activation model (as in the serial
and modular model), the rules that specifiy acceptable sequences at the phonological and
syntactic levels are kept distinct from the words and sounds present in the mental lexicon,
that is, there is a distinction between linguistic structure and linguistic content. In the PDP
approach, it is assumed that there is no such distinction; rather, linguistic structures arise out
of the massed effects of the stored vocabulary (see Dell & Juliano (1991) for a PDP model of
word production).

Grammar as Processor

3.1.4 Summary
Most language production models no matter whether they adopt serial or interactive processing postulate specialized processing levels that mediate between a
message intention and the articulation of an utterance. In addition, it is assumed
that the lexicon is accessed twice during production: first to retrieve lemmas, then
to retrieve phonologically specified word forms. Models differ from each other,
however, with respect to the type of information flow they allow. While serial
models endorse strict top-down processing, interactive models allow for feedback
between processing levels. Garrett (1980a:190) notes that the terms which find
use in his production model (that is, functional level and positional level) are
studiously neutral with respect to their correspondence to levels of description
in a formal grammar. Still, if we take the idea of a psychologically real grammar
(as decribed in Section 2.1) seriously, then it is of course desirable to have at ones
disposal a formal model of grammar that can be mapped onto the psycholinguistic
processingmodel.
As will become clear in the next section, DM also supports a separationistic
view. In particular, advocates of DM assume that the mechanisms which are
responsible for producing the form of syntactic expressions are distinct from
the mechanisms which produce the form of the corresponding phonological
expressions. I therefore take it to be a promising endeavour to try to relate
the psycholinguistic theory of multi-stage sentence processing to a multi-level
theory ofgrammar.

3.2 Distributed Morphology: A sketch of the framework


In the last two decades, several clearly articulated approaches to the theory of
word formation have emerged which are quite different in spirit. On the one
end of the spectrum, there are lexeme-based accounts according to which only
stems of lexical categories are really morphemes (see, for instance, Anderson
(1992) and Aronoff (1994)). According to Anderson (1992), for instance, the
terminal nodes of syntactic phrase markers are not lexical elements but rather
morphosyntactic representations which consist of a list of (morphologically
relevant) features. Andersons theory of word structure is a-morphous in nature
in that it is not based on the classical notion of the morpheme, but rather on
the premise that words are related to one another through the operation of
morphophonological rules called word formation rules which apply to affixless
stems. Under this view, the inflected word dogs, for example, is not represented
by concatenating /dg/ and the plural marker /-z/, but rather by having dog

Theoretical background

undergo a rule which triggers the change of /X//Xz/, where X represents


a noun with the property (that is, with the morphosyntactic feature) [+plural]
(Anderson 1992: 72). Consequently, in Andersons theory, inflectional affixes
are seen as the by-product of word formationrules.
In contrast, Lieber (1992) supports a lexicalist approach to morphology by
clinging to the traditional notion that affixes as well as stems are lexical items
which contain both phonological and morphosyntactic features and which relate
phonological form to meaning and function. It is crucial for her theory that these
lexical items combine to create words manipulated in thesyntax.
The theory of Distributed Morphology (Halle 1990, 1994; Halle & Marantz
1993, 1994; Harley & Noyer 1998a, 2003; Marantz 1995, 1997; Noyer 1997),
which I will describe in some detail below, combines features of the affixless
and the lexicalist approach to morphology. Just like the affixless approach, Distributed Morphology (DM) endorses the separation of the terminal elements
involved in the syntax from the phonological realization of these elements. In
contrast to Andersons a-morphous approach, however, in DM, affixes play a
central role in word formation processes. With the lexicalist approach, on the
other hand, DM shares the idea that the phonological realization of terminal
elements in a syntactic structure is governed by lexical entries (Vocabulary
items). Stems as well as affixes are taken to connect morphosyntactic feature
bundles with phonological feature complexes. DM departs from the lexicalist
approach, however, when it comes to the assignment of phonological features
to terminal nodes. According to DM, this assignment takes place only after
syntax and consequently, it does not create or determine the terminal elements
manipulated in thesyntax.
Halle & Marantz (1993:112) point out that DM shares important traits with
traditional morphology (e.g., in its insistence that hierarchically organized pieces
are present at all levels of representation of a word), but deviates from traditional
morphology in other respects (most especially in not insisting on the invariance
of these pieces but allowing them to undergo changes in the course of the derivation). Above all, the inability of other theories to capture the observed changes in
the hierarchical organization of morphological pieces was the main motivation for
Halle and Marantz to propose an alternativetheory.
On the one hand, Halle & Marantz (1993) point out that Andersons lexemebased theory contradicts much current practice in generative syntax, where
inflectional morphemes (or features) are treated as heads of functional projections and must therefore constitute terminal nodes. Anderson motivates his
approach by citing a number of violations of the one-to-one relation between
components of meaning and components of form which is essential to the classical morpheme (Anderson 1992:70). Halle and Marantz, however, note that

Grammar as Processor

in Andersons theory, any parallel between the layering of syntax and the layering of phonology is merely accidental. Therefore, rather than to eliminate all
affixes from morphology, they choose to redefine the notion ofmorpheme.
On the other hand, Halle and Marantz also criticize Chomskys (1995) suggestion that affixation takes place in the lexicon prior to lexical insertion and
that the interface between a verbs internal morphological structure and the
syntax involves a system of feature checking. According to Chomsky (1995),
and many others scholars working within the Minimalist Program, the verb
raises to various functional heads in the syntax and checks its features with
the features of the functional heads to which it adjoins. Affixation and checking, however, are independent of each other. Most importantly, affixation in the
lexicon does not impose any particular structure on the organization of features and consequently, no particular order is imposed on the checking operations. Therefore, in Chomskys framework, the connection between the internal
phonological structure of the verb and its inflectional features (to be checked
off in the course of the derivation) has no consequences for the rest of
thegrammar.
In order to overcome the shortcomings of the affixless and the checking theory
sketched above, Halle and Marantz propose DM as an alternative account. In the
remainder of this section, I will introduce some of the basic assumptions of DM,
highlighting those aspects of the theory which will be relevant for the discussion
of the speech error data in Chapters 4 to 6, while neglecting details which are not
of immediate importance in the present context. I start in Section 3.2.1 by looking at the structure of the grammar and the role of the lexicon as assumed in DM.
In Section 3.2.2, I turn to the post-syntactic level of Morphological Structure and
discuss the morphological and morphosyntactic operations that are taken to apply
at this level. The processes that are at work at the level of Phonological Form are
introduced in Section3.2.3.
3.2.1 The structure of the grammar
DM is separationistic in nature in that it adopts the idea that the mechanisms which
produce the form of syntactically and semantically complex expressions are separate
from the mechanisms which generate the form of the corresponding phonological expressions. One of the core assumptions of DM is that syntax proper does not
manipulate anything resembling lexical items, but rather generates structures by
manipulating and combining morphosyntactic features by means of various syntactic operations (such as merger and movement). The model of grammar as adopted
in Halle & Marantz (1993) and subsequent work (see, for example, Harley & Noyer
(2003:465)) is sketched in Figure(6).

Theoretical background

(6)

List 1
syntactic operations
(e.g. merger, movement)

COMPUTATIONAL SYSTEM (SYNTAX)

MORPHOLOGICAL
STRUCTURE (MS)

LOGICAL
FORM (LF)

PHONOLOGICAL
FORM (PF)

Conceptual
interface
(Meaning)

Phonetic interface

morphological operations,
(e.g. merger, fusion),
adjunction of Agr nodes,
morpheme insertion
insertion of Vocabulary
items (spell-out),
readjustment rules,
phonological rules

List 2

List 3

Halle & Marantz (1993:111f) state that the name Distributed Morphology was
chosen in order to emphasize the fact that the machinery of what traditionally has
been called morphology is not concentrated in a single component of the grammar, but rather is distributed among several different components. Consequently,
word formation may take place at any level of grammar through different processes such as head movement and/or merger of adjacentheads.
At the level of Morphological Structure (MS), which is taken to be the interface between syntax and phonology, various operations may change the structure
and/or number of terminal nodes (see Section 3.2.2). It is only after syntax at the
level of Phonological Form (PF) that phonological expressions, called Vocabulary
items, are inserted in a process called spell-out. Vocabulary insertion is therefore
referred to as late insertion.6 For a given Vocabulary item to be inserted in some
. This is somewhat different from a proposal made in Halle (1990, 1994). Halle distinguishes between concrete morphemes and abstract morphemes. Concrete morphemes are
those that have a single fixed underlying phonological representation (identifying index):
morphemes such as the stems dog, eat, and red, but also bound affixes like, for instance, un- or
-ness. In contrast, morphemes that do not have a fixed phonological shape are referred to as
abstract morphemes. They differ from concrete morphemes in that they lack a phonological

Grammar as Processor

terminal node at PF, none of its morphosyntactic features may conflict with a morphosyntactic feature present in that node. Again, certain operations may apply, at
this time altering the phonological shape of already inserted Vocabulary items (see
Section3.2.3).
In DM, there is no lexicon in the sense familiar from earlier generative models. Rather, there is a number of distributed lists which take over the jobs assigned
to the lexicon component in earlier theories (Marantz 1997). In the syntax, the
terminal nodes are purely abstract; they consist only of abstract roots (root) and
features that actually play a role in the syntactic computation.7 Hence, features
that are only relevant at the phonological or semantic interface are not part of the
terminal nodes in the syntax. Morphosyntactic features which are relevant to the
computational system, such as, for instance, [definite], [plural], and [1st],
are drawn from a feature set which is made available by Universal Grammar. In a
sense, List 1 in (6) most directly replaces the traditional lexicon in that it provides
the units on which the syntax operates: abstract roots as well as bundles of grammatical features. List 1 (which Marantz refers to as the pure or narrow lexicon)
is generative in nature in that sets of grammatical features may be freely formed,
subject only to combinatorial constraints about featureco-occurrences.8
List 2, the Vocabulary, provides the phonological forms for the terminal nodes
from the syntax. Thus, the Vocabulary establishes a connection between sets of grammatical features and phonological features. The Vocabulary is non-generative in
nature but expandable. Actually, the Vocabulary items come very close to matching
usual notions of morphemes. Note that Vocabulary items may be underspecified with

representation in their Vocabulary entries; for example, inflectional morphemes such as


[plural] and [past] but also a verb like be which has surface forms of great variety.
Halle (1990, 1994) proposes that only abstract morphemes are inserted postsyntactically,
while all concrete morphemes may be inserted, with their phonological features, at deep structure (that is, within the computational system). However, Halles abstract vs. concrete distinction has been largely abandoned with more current work in DM endorsing late insertion of all
phonological expressions.
. In Harley & Noyer (2003), [Root] is taken to be one of the morphosyntactic features contained in List 1. I depart from this assumption, since it is not clear what kind of morphosyntactic processes such a feature would participate in. I use the notation root instead, leaving
open the question, for the time being, whether List 1 contains one abstract root or rather a
large set of roots. I will come back to that question in Section 4.1.
. Note that according to Marantz (1995, 1997), certain compositional semantic features
such as [animate] or [count noun] may also be contained in List 1 and may therefore also
enter the computational system in case that they are relevant to that system. See Section 4.3
for further discussion.

Theoretical background

respect to the features of the syntactic position in which they can be inserted. Moreover, various items may compete for insertion at a given terminal node, with the most
highly specified item that does not conflict with the feature specification of this terminal node winning the competition. Vocabulary items connect the paradigmatic space
defined by the features of a given terminal node to phonological form by mentioning
some of these features and by describing how they relate to phonologicalfeatures.
The third and final list in (6) is List 3 or the Encyclopedia. The Encyclopedia
lists the special meanings of particular roots. In other words, it relates Vocabulary
items to meanings. In DM, the Encyclopedia is taken to be the list of idioms of
a given language. Note that the term idiom embraces more than the conventional use of the term. It is used to refer to any expression (even a single word or
subpart of a word) whose meaning is not wholly predictable from its morphosyntactic structural description (Marantz 1997, 1998). Just like the Vocabulary, the
Encyclopedia is non-generative but expandable. Two examples one single word
idiom and one phrasal idiom are given in(7).
(7) a. cat:
b. (rain) cats and dogs:

a domestic animal with claws, miaows,


a lot, heavily

According to Marantz (1997), it is an open question how much information about


abstract roots is present in the narrow lexicon (List 1) and how the particular
choice of a root from the lexicon or from the Vocabulary (List 2) feeds semantic
interpretation. Presumably, the roots which are manipulated in the syntax must
contain some kind of information which allows for insertion of the correct Vocabulary item at PF. It is, however, not clear what kind of information that might be
since as discussed above (non-compositional) semantic features are not present in the computational system (for further discussion see Section4.1).
Below, I summarize the most important characteristics of the three components which replace the traditional lexicon in DM (following Marantz 1998:5):
List 1: the Lexicon: the list of bundles of features that enter the computational
system; this list contains only those features which are relevant to the principles of syntax.
List 2: the Vocabulary : contains the Vocabulary items, which are connections
between lexical features and phonologically relevant features; all Vocabulary
items compete for insertion into a given terminal node.
List 3: the Encyclopedia: Encyclopedia entries connect (pieces of) the output
of the grammar to non-compositional meanings; these entries are used in the
interpretation of linguistic structure.
In this section, I have sketched the basic structure of the grammar as assumed in
Distributed Morphology and have pointed out how the grammatical levels interact

Grammar as Processor

with linguistic and non-linguistic lexical knowledge stored in different lists. In the
following sections, I am going to have a closer look at the operations which apply
at the post-syntactic levels of Morphological Structure and PhonologicalForm.
3.2.2 Morphological Structure
In DM, every expression acquires at least two structural descriptions in the course
of its derivation. In a morphosyntactic description, the morphemes that are part
of an expression and their arrangement are indicated (using elements drawn from
List 1); the morphosyntactic description of, for example, dogs would look like
[root [+pl]]. In a morphophonological description, the phonological pieces of
an expression (its Vocabulary items taken from List 2) areindicated.
The morphosyntactic structure of an expression is generated by several
mechanisms. In the syntax, for instance, head movement plays a crucial role
in constructing complex morphosyntactic structures (for instance, movement
of a verbal root through various functional heads). At the post-syntactic level
of Morphological Structure (MS), several additional structure-changing mechanisms may apply; these mechanisms will be subject to closer examination in the
following twosections.
3.2.2.1 Morpheme types and local licensing
Harley & Noyer (2003:467) note that in DM, the term morpheme properly refers
to a syntactic (or morphological) terminal node and its content, not to the phonological expression of that terminal, which is provided as part of a Vocabulary
Item. As described in detail before, the content of a morpheme which is active
in the syntax consists of morphosyntactic (and compositional semantic) features
drawn from a set made available by Universal Grammar. In this section, I will
consider possible distinctions between morpheme types which may be relevant
for the computational system and/or Vocabulary insertion in order to yield a correct (or desired)output.
Traditionally, many (morpho)syntactic theories rely on the assumption that
syntactic categories such as N, V, and A each possibly being a combination of
features of a more abstract kind (Chomsky 1970) are labels associated with
lexical items and that these categories are also essential in building syntactic tree
structures following the X-bar scheme (Jackendoff 1977). That is, nouns which are
inserted into a terminal node project a noun phrase, verbs project a verb phrase,
and so on. DM departs from this view. Harley & Noyer (1998a), for instance, suggest that morphemes are of two basic kinds: f-morphemes and l-morphemes, a
distinction that corresponds approximately to the well-known division between

Theoretical background

functional and lexical categories. F-morphemes are defined as morphemes for


which there is no choice regarding Vocabulary insertion. The spell-out of these
morphemes is deterministic in that their content suffices to determine a unique
phonological expression. In contrast, an l-morpheme is defined as a morpheme
for which the choice of Vocabulary item is not determined in advance. Consider
the examples in (8). The English Vocabulary items the, -d, and a in (8a) as well
as the German items die, -er, -te, -n, and ihre in (8b) are determined entirely
by the grammar, given a syntactic structure containing terminal nodes (f-nodes)
that host features such as [def], [+past], and [+pl]. In contrast, the choice of
the Vocabulary items house or Kind (child) is not constrained in such a way;
the speaker might as well have chosen the items car or Junge (boy) (in these
examples, f-morphemes are inbold-face).

(8) a. The men sol-d a house

b. Die
Kind-er rger-te-n
ihre
Mtter

the.pl.nom child-pl tease-past-pl poss.pl.acc mother.pl

The children teased their mothers.

The account sketched above is referred to as the L-Morpheme Hypothesis


(Marantz 1997; H.Harley 1995; Harley & Noyer 1998a,b, 2003). According to
this hypothesis, the traditional terms for sentence elements, such as noun, verb,
and adjective, have no universal significance and are essentially derivative from
more basic morpheme types. That is, l-morphemes are acategorial in nature:
there is only one type of l-node whose categorial status is defined by its syntactic
context. At Vocabulary insertion, a given l-morpheme is inserted whose subcategorization information specifies that it may appear in that context. If a Vocabulary item appears in an appropriate syntactic context, given its subcategorization
requirements, it is said to be licensed. For example, a noun or a nominalization
is a root whose nearest c-commanding f-morpheme is a determiner, or, put differently, a noun is a root which is locally licensed by a determiner. In contrast
to that, a verb is a root whose nearest c-commanding f-morpheme (or licenser)
is v (the light verb), Aspect, or Tense. For illustration, consider the German
examples in(9).
(9) a. Peter brich-t
den Stock

Peter break-3.sg the stick

Peter breaks the stick.
b. der Bruch

the break.nmlz

the breaking

Grammar as Processor

a.

vP
(agent) DP

v
v

[]


b.

LP
l-node

licensing

DP
LP

D
[+]

DP

licensing

l-node

(PP)

Since l-nodes lack a categorial specification, the phrase they project is labeled LP.9
In both structures in (9), the l-node hosts the same root. In (9a), the verbal status of
brech (break) is the result of inserting a Vocabulary item into a terminal l-node
which is governed by v (note that the licensing relation is indicated by an arrow).
In (9b), the nominalization of the same root is the result of inserting the same
Vocabulary item into an l-node which is governed by D.10 Moreover, in (9b), the
Vocabulary item is subject to a stem-internal change (ablaut); see Section 3.2.3.2
for furtherdiscussion.11

. In (9a), a split-VP approach like the one assumed in, for example, Chomsky (1995) is
adopted. In this approach, (agentive) external arguments are taken to be base-generated in the
specifier of a light verb phrase (vP) which is projected separately from a lower basic VP.
. See Section 6.4 for the licensing of roots that surface as adjectives.
. The idea of acategorial roots is also adopted in Marantz (2001); his implementation,
however, is different. According to Marantz, the construction in which a root occurs is assigned a category through merger with a category node (a head) called little x, in which
x can be verbal (little v), nominal (little n), or adjectival (little a). Little x determines the
edge of a cyclic domain at which a derivation is shipped off to PF and LF. In accounting
for the speech errors in which local licensing comes to fruition (Section 6.4), I will follow

Theoretical background

Let me add a few words about the content of the light verb head. Actually,
the light verb head is a functional head with a very limited inventory of meanings. H.Harley (1995), for instance, maintains that v may only have three different specifications, namely be (stative), cause, and become. In (9a), the l-node
combines with the cause morpheme to yield the transitive verb brech (break).
The role of the light verb in the derivation can be neatly illustrated by the German
verb pair senken (to lower) versus sinken (to drop, to sink), where the first one
is transitive and the latter one intransitive and unaccusative, as illustrated by the
examples in(10).
(10) a. Der Hndler senk-t
die Preise

the dealer
lower-3.sg the prices

The dealer lowers the prices.
b. Die Preise sink-en

the prices drop-pl

The prices drop.

In (10a), as in (9a) above, the l-node is licensed by a cause morpheme in the head
of vP and a transitive verb is produced; the agentive argument dealer occupies the
specifier position of vP. A different relation between v and the l-node holds in the
intransitive sentence in (10b). Following Harleys (1995) proposal, we may assume
that in this example, the light verb heading vP must be become, with no agentive
external argument in SpecvP. Presumably, the internal argument is base-generated
within VP. Bracketed structures for the two examples are given in(11).
(11) a. [vP [SpecvP der Hndler] [v cause [LP gesenkt [DP die Preise]]]]
b. [vP [SpecvP ] [v become [LP gesenkt [DP die Preise]]]]

In the transitive as well as in the intransitive case, the same l-node, designating the
resultant state (gesenkt (lowered)), combines with the little v morpheme in order
to produce the final verbal form. Thus, from a given numeration of initial bundles
of features and roots, the syntax creates legitimate structures, which are then filled
with appropriate Vocabulary items. As we have seen, the same Vocabulary item may
surface in different morphological categories depending on the syntactic context
in which the corresponding l-morpheme (or root) appears, that is, depending on
the f-morpheme by which it is licensed (see Section 6.4 for furtherdiscussion).

the ideas as formulated in Harley & Noyer (1998), implicitly assuming that the data could
as well be accounted for in Marantzs little x theory. I will, however, come back to Marantz
proposal in Section 6.4.2, where I consider morpheme insertion, and in Section 6.4.6,
where I discuss modifications concerning phonological readjustment and licensing as suggested in Siddiqi (2006).

Grammar as Processor

3.2.2.2 Morphological operations: Merger, insertion, and fusion


Some agglutinating languages (for example, Turkish) come very close to the
ideal of a one-to-one relation between terminal elements in the syntax and
morphemes at Phonological Form, with the organization and bracketing of the
morphemes directly reflecting the syntactic bracketing. Consequently, a language like Turkish can be said to be a particularly good proof of Bakers (1985)
Mirror Principle according to which morphological derivations must directly
reflect syntactic derivations (and vice versa) (Baker 1985:375). That is, in morphologically complex forms, the order of affixes mirrors the order of syntactic
operations, such as successive cyclic movement of the verb through various
functionalheads.
If head-to-head movement and adjunction were in fact the only processes
active in inflectional affixation, then Bakers principle would appear to be accurate. Unfortunately, however, this is not the case. It is a well-known fact that in
many of the worlds languages, morphological structures do not always neatly
fit the picture of a one-to-one relationship of form and function. Frequently,
we observe morphemes which are somewhat ill-behaving in that they are not
homogenous and indivisible atomic units of linguistic form (see Anderson
(1992:51ff) for a survey of problematic cases involving, for example, discontinuous, empty, and portmanteau morphemes). In addition, we also have to account
for derivationalmorphology.
In DM, the apparent mismatches between the organization of the morphosyntactic elements and the organization of the morphemes are analyzed
as the result of structure-changing processes which manipulate terminal
elements in the syntax and at MS, that is, before Vocabulary insertion takes
place. In this section, I am going to discuss some of these processes, all of
which are sensitive to syntactic structure and obey strict locality conditions.
In particular, I will briefly introduce the following morphological operations:
merger, insertion of agreement nodes, feature copy, fusion, and insertion of
derivationalmorphemes.
The first of the structure changing processes I want to discuss is morphological merger. Merger joins terminal nodes under the node of a head but maintains two independent terminal nodes under this node. Thus, like head-to-head
movement, merger forms a new word from heads of independent phrases, but
these independent heads remain separate morphemes within the newly derived
word. In Marantz (1988:261), merger is generalized in the following way:
Morphological Merger
At any level of syntactic analysis (D-structure, S-structure, phonological
structure), a relation between X and Y may be replaced by (expressed by) the
affixation of the lexical head of X to the lexical head of Y.

Theoretical background

Hence, merger exchanges a structural relation between two elements at one level
of representation for a different structural relation at a subsequent level. The structures in (12) illustrate the application of thisoperation.
(12) a.

XP
X

XP

b.

YP

YP
Y

ZP

Y
Y

ZP
X

In order to further clarify the mechanism, let us consider an English example. For
English, it has been claimed that main verbs do not overtly raise to Tense. Still,
verbs do inflect for tense in sentences like John opened the letter. The joining of
Tense with the main verb has sometimes been attributed to a lowering operation
(Pollock 1989). However, it is argued in Halle and Marantz (1993) that this joining
is in fact an example of merger under structural adjacency. The result of merger
Tense being affixed to the l-node containing open is shown in(13b).12
(13) a.

TnsP
Tns

TnsP

b.

LP

LP

[+] L

DP

DP

Tns

[+]

Another source of the mentioned lack of isomorphism between PF and the syntax
is the fact that additional morpheme nodes may be inserted at MS. For instance, in

. Given that English main verbs are incapable of raising to Tns, it is also impossible for
them to further raise to C in yes/no-questions; cf. the ungrammaticality of *Opened John the
letter?. In this case, the dummy element do will be inserted under Tns and will raise to a [+Q]marked complementizer, resulting in Did John open the letter?. In contrast to English, German
main verbs may raise and adjoin to Tns and in a second step to C.Hence, the inflected verb
appears in sentence-initial position in German yes/no-questions. Another important difference to English is that in German, Tns and AgrS will not fuse, since person/number distinctions are maintained in the past tense.

Grammar as Processor

(some versions of) DM, it is assumed that in many languages, subject-verb agreement is implemented by adjoining an agreement morpheme to the tense node
(Halle & Marantz 1993; Embick 2000). Subsequently, features of the subject DP
are copied onto this agreement node. In a similar fashion, case-number-gender
concord within German DPs is implemented by supplying appropriate agreement
suffixes to adjective and determiner nodes and by copying features associated with
the nominal head of the DP onto them. By inserting these morphemes only at
MS, that is, after syntax but before spell-out, their lack of effect in the syntax is
accounted for (see Marantz (1991) for the determination and realization of case
features at MS). The insertion of the AgrS morpheme onto which the appropriate
features of the subject have been copied transforms the relevant part of the tree in
(13b) into the tree in(14b).
(14) a.

b.

Tns

[+]

Tns
Tns

Agr

[+]

[3.]

At this stage of the derivation, a third structure-changing operation may come into
play. This is the operation fusion which takes two terminal nodes that are sisters
under a single category node and fuses them into a single terminal node. After
fusion has applied, only one Vocabulary item may be inserted and this item must
have a subset of the morphosyntactic features of the fused node (which includes
features from both input terminal nodes). Hence, unlike merger, fusion reduces
the number of independent morphemes in a syntactic structure. For English, for
instance, it is assumed that Tns and Agr fuse into a single morpheme at MS (indicated by the broken circle in (14b)), since there are no number/person distinctions
in the pasttense.13

. Two further mechanisms that contribute to the noted lack of isomorphism between the
syntax and PF are impoverishment and morpheme fission. Impoverishment (Bonet 1991) is
an operation on the content of morphemes which involves the deletion of morphosyntactic
features in certain contexts. In contrast, fission is capable of splitting a single morphosyntactic
terminal node into two (or more) phonological pieces to account for situations in which a
single morpheme may correspond to two separate Vocabulary items (see Halle (1997) and
Noyer (1997, 1998) for details).

Theoretical background

The final morphological operation I want to introduce is the insertion of


derivational morphemes. In Halle & Marantz (1993) and much subsequent work,
morpheme insertion is only meant to cover the insertion of agreement and case
morphemes before spell-out, as discussed above. In these studies, little if any attention is payed to derivational morphology. Adopting DM reasoning, we have to
assume that the roots drawn from List 1, given their abstractness and acategoriality, do not come with derivational affixes. Since derivational morphology will play
an important role in the discussion of speech errors, I wish to make this assumption, which is implicit in much of the DM literature, more explicit. Note that in
the remainder of this book, when speaking of morpheme insertion, I refer to the
insertion of derivationalmorphemes.
Consider, for instance, a root such as dance. Depending on the syntactic
context in which the root appears, it may be spelled out as, for example, dance
(verb) or as dancer. Given that in the latter case, the licensing environment has a
phonological reflex (the suffix -er), we must assume that at MS, the appropriate
derivational morpheme is inserted. This derivational morpheme is abstract and
will be spelled out at PF just as the feature bundles and roots contained in terminal nodes. The relevant morpheme insertion rule is given in (15a). This rule
indicates that the morpheme will be inserted when a particular root appears in a
context where it is licensed by a determiner.14 Here and in the following, I represent abstract derivational morphemes by square brackets followed by the subscript
. Also, I use the arrow to indicate a licensing relationship; the arrow should
be read as is licensedby.
(15) a. Insert [-er] / x [+d]

(where x = dance, sing, hunt, )
b. Insert [-ung(f)] / x [+d]

(where x = wohn (live), entwickel (develop), offen (open), )

In contrast to English, German nominalizing suffixes must come with a gender


feature, since these suffixes determine the gender of the word. All nouns ending
in -ung, for instance, are of feminine gender; see the morpheme insertion rule in
(15b). Clearly, this also implies that morpheme insertion precedes feature copy,
since otherwise the correct spell-out of determiners and adjectives could not
beguaranteed.
This concludes the discussion of the operations applying at the level of
Morphological Structure. Once these operations have applied, Vocabulary
. I am aware of the fact that frequently, there is a choice of nominalizations for one particular root. dance, for instance, can also surface as dance (noun) when licensed by a determiner. Competing nominalizations will be subject to further discussion in Section 6.4.3.

Grammar as Processor

Insertion takes place. The insertion of Vocabulary items will be discussed in the
followingsection.
3.2.3 Phonological Form
At the level of Phonological Form, Vocabulary items are inserted into abstract morphosyntactic structures. In addition to that, phonological readjustment rules may
alter the phonological structure of Vocabulary items in the context of certain features.
The process of Vocabulary insertion will be sketched in Section 3.2.3.1, while the role
of phonological readjustment rules will be subject to discussion in Section3.2.3.2.
3.2.3.1 Vocabulary insertion
A Vocabulary item is not merely a phonological string; rather, it also contains
information about where that particular string may be inserted. At the level of
PF, Vocabulary insertion (spell-out) inserts Vocabulary items into terminal nodes
which contain abstract roots and/or morphosyntactic features. In the unmarked
case, the relation between Vocabulary items and morphemes is one-to-one. However, as discussed above, several factors may disrupt thisrelation.
Regardless of the type of morpheme l-morpheme or f-morpheme spellout involves the association of phonological pieces with abstract morphemes. In
the case of f-morphemes, sets of Vocabulary items compete for insertion into a
given node. For insertion to take place, only a subset of the features specified in
the terminal node must be matched by features of the corresponding Vocabulary
item. Insertion of phonological strings into abstract morphemes is governed by
the Subset Principle (Halle1997:428).
Subset Principle
The phonological exponent of a Vocabulary item is inserted into a morpheme
in the terminal string if the item matches all or a subset of the grammatical
features specified in the terminal morpheme. Insertion does not take place if the
Vocabulary item contains features not present in the morpheme. Where several
Vocabulary items meet the conditions for insertion, the item matching the greatest
number of features specified in the terminal morpheme must be chosen.

The Subset Principle determines which Vocabulary item wins the competition for
insertion: items that match more features take precedence over items that match
fewer features. That is, the application of a given spell-out rule bleeds the application of all spell-out rules ordered belowit.
With this in mind, let us now come back to the English example in (8a):
The men sold a house. The relevant morphosyntactic features in this example
are [+past], [def], and [+pl]. In specific environments, that is, with certain
stems, [+past] is spelled out as zero, as indicated in (16a). However, in the

Theoretical background

remaining (or elsewhere) environments, the default affix /-d/, which does not
require a specific context, will be inserted (16b). Hence, as far as [+past] is
concerned, the insertion of the zero affix bleeds the insertion of /-d/, a property
which accounts for the fact that in English doubly marked past tense forms
areungrammatical.15
(16) a. [+past] / X + ____

(where X = drive, sing, beat, )
b. [+past] /-d/
c. [+pl]
/ Y + ____

(where Y = man, sheep, moose, )
d. [+pl]
/-()z/

The insertion of the plural suffix proceeds in a similar fashion: in a specific environment, for instance, with the noun man, a zero suffix will be inserted (16c), in other
environments other suffixes may be chosen, and in the remaining cases, the default
suffix /-()z/ will be inserted (16d). Finally, the insertion of the definite article
// and the indefinite article // in terminal nodes containing the feature [def] is
straightforward because no competition amongst Vocabulary items isinvolved.
In the German example (8b), Die Kinder rgerten ihre Mtter (The children
teased their mothers), the morphosyntactic features which need to be spelled
out by f-morphemes are [+pl] (on nouns and verbs), [+def], [+past], [+poss],
as well as case features. Remember that the plural feature on the nouns (Kinder,
Mtter) is chosen from List 1, while the plural feature on the verb is copied onto
the AgrS node at MS. For German nouns, the choice of plural suffixes is considerably larger than in English. In (17), I give the Vocabulary items for three
of the available plural allomorphs: two suffixes which require a specific environment in (17a) and (17b) and the one which many researchers (for example,
Janda 1990; Marcus, Brinkmann, Clahsen, Pinker & Wiese 1995; Wiese 1996)
take to be the default plural marker in (17c).16 As in English, for certain German

. According to Halle & Marantz (1993), the Tense node contains the features [+past] and
[part]. This implies that the Vocabulary items in (16a) and (16b) are underspecified with
respect to the terminal node in which they are inserted, since they are not specified for the
feature [part].
. Note that for German common nouns, -s is a very infrequent plural marker. It is suffixed to
a few consonant-final nouns, e.g., Park-s (parks), and to a slightly larger group of nouns ending
in a vowel, e.g., Bro-s (offices), Kino-s (cinemas). Moreover, personal names, e.g., Mller-s,
Katharina-s and abbreviations, e.g., CD-s, LKW-s (trucks), take -s as the plural marker.
Wiese (1996) points out that the importance of this suffix lies precisely in the fact that
it acts as a default suffix in spite of its low frequency. It is, for instance, overgeneralized in the

Grammar as Processor

verbs, the past tense suffix is zero (17d). The Vocabulary item for the default past
tense morpheme is given in (17e). Note that some of the suffixes given in (17)
are accompanied by stem-internal phonological changes: umlaut or ablaut. Such
vowel changes will be discussed in the followingsection.
(17) a. [+pl]
/ X + ____

(where X = Mutter, Vater (father), )
b. [+pl]
/-r/ / Y + ____

(where Y = Kind, Haus (house), )
c. [+pl]
/-z/
d. [+past]
/ X + ____

(where X = singen (sing), geben (give), )
e. [+past]
/-t/
f. [+poss]
/i:r/

[+pl][acc]

For the possessive pronoun ihre (their) to be spelled out correctly, further operations must have taken place prior to Vocabulary insertion. Firstly, the number
feature of the noun must have been copied onto D; secondly, a case (accusative)
feature must have been assigned (17f). I will leave open the question whether the
pronoun is possibly underspecified for one of these features (as it is, for instance,
for the genderfeature).
As opposed to the f-morphemes discussed above, for l-morphemes there is
a choice regarding the Vocabulary item to be inserted. In an appropriate local
(licensing) relation to a determiner, a root morpheme might, for example, be filled
by cat, girl, table, or any other Vocabulary item which we would call a noun. These
Vocabulary items are not in competition; rather, they may freely be inserted at
the point of spell-out (see Section 4.1 for discussion). Two exemplary Vocabulary
items for l-morphemes are given in(18).
(18) a. house /has/
b. kind /kInt/

Marantz (1997) discusses the interesting case of l-morphemes which undergo


apparent allomorphy in different environments. He gives the rise/raise alternation
as an example but the same point can be made with the German verb pair senken/
sinken discussed in (10) above. Presumably, senken is inserted in the context of
a governing cause head, while sinken, the intransitive (unaccusative) variant, is
the elsewhere case. Apparently, these morphemes are in competition for insertion

acquisition of German plurals by children and it is also used by adults when asked to produce
the plural of a nonsense word.

Theoretical background

into the l-node. However, Marantz argues that senken is only a morphophonological variant of the basic intransitive root. Consequently, this apparent l-morpheme
alternation is not determined by competition of Vocabulary items but should
rather be seen as the product of post-insertion readjustment rules which will be
discussed in the nextsection.
3.2.3.2 Phonological readjustment
In DM, two sorts of readjustment rules are distinguished. Morphosyntactic readjustment rules, on the one hand, are capable of manipulating morphosyntactic
features in the context of other such features. As already mentioned in Footnote
13, these rules are called impoverishment rules in case they delete a certain feature.17 Clearly, morphosyntactic readjustment rules must apply prior to Vocabulary insertion, since the morphosyntactic features of Vocabulary items which are
inserted at PF are required to be non-distinct from those contained in the (already
readjusted) terminal nodes. Phonological readjustment rules, on the other hand,
change the phonological form of already inserted Vocabulary items and logically
follow Vocabulary insertion. In this section, I will only be concerned with the latter type of readjustmentrules.
In many cases, the information contained in the Vocabulary entries is not
sufficient to guarantee the generation of the correct phonological output. It is,
for instance, not at all unusual for affixation to be accompanied by stem-internal
modifications. As suggested in Halle (1990, 1994), the remaining part of the information concerning the phonological form of morphemes is provided by a set of
phonological readjustmentrules.
Again, we use the examples in (8) to illustrate the mechanism. In the English
sentence (8a), the verb sell undergoes regular past tense suffixation (see (16b)). At
the same time, however, a phonological readjustment rule comes into play which
causes ablaut within the stem. Note that ablaut is also observed in some of the
verbs which take a zero past tense suffix (for example, sing-sang). The readjustment rule which alters the vowel quality of sell in the context of [+past] is given in
(19a) (Halle & Marantz1993:128).
(19) a. V
[+back] / W ___ U [+past]

[+round] (where WVU = sell, tell)
b. [V1]X [back]
/ X + [+pl]

(where X = Mutter, Vater, Not (need), Land (country), )

. In addition to deleting features, morphosyntactic readjustment rules may also change


features at MS. Halle (1990), for instance, discusses Russian examples in which the syntactically motivated accusative case is implemented as genitive if the stem is animate, and as
nominative if the stem is inanimate.

Grammar as Processor

Another readjustment rule affects the stem vowel of German Mutter (mother)
when combined with a plural suffix, resulting in umlaut formation (Mtter).
In this particular case, the readjustment rule is triggered by an empty affix. The
other Vocabulary items mentioned in (19b), however, indicate that in German
plurals, umlaut is not restricted to empty affixes: Not (need), for example, takes
a /-/-suffix in the plural (Nte), while the plural of Land (country) is formed
bysuffixing /-r/(Lnder).18
Phonological readjustment rules may not only become active in the context
of certain morphosyntactic features, as has been illustrated in (19); they may also
be triggered by the licensing environment in which a root appears. In (9b) above,
for instance, brech (break) will be spelled out by the Vocabulary item /br7X/.19
This Vocabulary item undergoes phonological readjustment when licensed by a
determiner. The relevant readjustment rule is given in(20a).
(20) a. /7/ //
/ X [+d]

(where X = brechen, sprechen (speak))
b. V
[high] / X [cause]

(where X = sinken, trinken (to drink))

Last but not least, I want to present the readjustment rule that is active in the
sinken/senken alternation that has been illustrated in (10). As mentioned earlier, I
follow Marantz in assuming that there is only one common root for both verbs. In
case this root is licensed by a cause morpheme in the head of vP, the readjustment
rule in (20b) will apply and change the quality of the stemvowel.20

. In Pfau (2002), it is shown that in spoken as well as in signed languages, phonological


readjustment rules may also affect prosodic features. In the Western Sudanic language G, for
instance, an empty Neg suffix triggers a tone change within the verbal stem, while in German
Sign Language, an empty Neg suffix affects the non-manual component of the verb sign.
. Following Yu (1992) and Wiese (1996), I use capital X for an underspecified fricative. A
phonological rule will turn /X/ into palatal [] after front vowels and into velar [x] after back
vowels (also see Section 6.6.1).
. Interestingly, a similar alternation is observed with the German verb trinken (to drink)
which will become trnken in a [cause] context, as, for example, in (i).

(i)

Hans trnkt die Khe


Hans waters the cows
Hans is watering the cows.

A few other German verbs are capable of causativization by means of umlaut formation,
for instance, fallen/fllen (to fall/to fell) or saugen/sugen (to suck/to suckle). For those
verbs, the mechanism is exactly the same, only the relevant readjustment rule will look
somewhat different.

Theoretical background

3.2.4 Summary
In this chapter, I have presented the major theoretical assumptions of Distributed
Morphology. DM is separationistic in nature in that it endorses a strict separation
of terminal elements which are manipulated in the syntax from the phonological
realization of these elements. Using English and German examples, I have shown
how and at what point in the derivation certain morphosyntactic and phonological mechanismsapply.
We have seen that in DM, roots (l-nodes) are assumed to combine with
inflectional features, bundled in terminal nodes, through various operations that
are either syntactic in nature or rely on syntactic structure; for instance, head
movement and adjunction, morphological merger under structural adjacency,
fusion of sister nodes, and the addition of morphemes at MS. All these structural
manipulations operate on terminal nodes which are hierarchically organized and
yield modified terminal nodes which, again, are hierarchically organized. At PF,
all terminal nodes f-nodes and l-nodes, those present in the syntax and those
added at MS are subject to Vocabulary insertion in exactly the sameway.

3.3 Conclusion
One particularly intriguing property of multi-level models of language production
is that they endorse a division of labour amongst several processing levels no
matter whether the flow of information in a given model is assumed to be stricly
top-down or whether interaction between levels is allowed. Crucially, grammatical encoding at the functional level precedes phonological encoding at the
positionallevel.
The exposition in the preceding section has made clear that in DM, we find
a similar allocation of tasks: the mechanisms that produce a syntactically complex expression are taken to be strictly separate from the mechanisms that supply the corresponding phonological expressions. It is that very property of
the grammar model which suggests to relate it to psycholinguistic models of
languageproduction.
In the following three chapters, I will investigate how the spontaneous speech
errors from my corpus can be accounted for within the DM framework. My
investigation will roughly follow the time course of processing as assumed in the
models: from semantic planning and selection of items from List 1 (Chapter 4)
via grammatical encoding and manipulation of morphosyntactic features (Chapter 5) towards morphological processes, Vocabulary insertion, and phonological
readjustment (Chapter 6). On the one hand, I am going to show which of the

Grammar as Processor

specific properties of the DM-model allow for a straightforward explanation of


(some of) the error data. On the other hand, I will also consider whether specific
DM assumptions might prove problematic in light of the slip data. To anticipate
the main finding: the general picture that emerges from the detailed discussion of
a wealth of speech errors is that a considerable number of these errors is readily
explained within the DM-model of grammar. Not surprisingly, however, some
problematic cases remain and these, too, shall not be concealed from thereader.

chapter 4

Semantic features in language production


In this chapter, I will take a closer look at the manipulation of semantic features in language production. Remember that according to DM, (non-compositional) semantic
features do not play any role within the computational system and should therefore
not not be present within that system. Otherwise, a tremendous load of information
would be carried along through the derivation to the PF and LF interfaces like excess
baggage (Marantz 1995) without doing any work. Consequently, DM makes a clear
distinction between the computational system of the grammar proper and the operation of semantic interpretation, that is, the operation which determines the meaning
of a sentence. Syntactic and compositional semantic features that condition the insertion of particular Vocabulary items at PF are present during the computation, while
idiosyncratic properties of lexical items are not. The latter are available only at the
conceptual interface and are retrieved from the Encyclopedia (List 3). That is, only at
this point may derived constituents be paired with non-compositionalmeanings.
In Section 4.1, I will argue that the postulated non-availability of semantic
features until after spell-out is problematic from a conceptual point of view. In particular, as far as l-nodes are concerned, it is not clear what mechanism would guarantee the insertion of the appropriate Vocabulary item (remember that f-nodes
only contain (bundles of) abstract features). Certain types of speech errors, in particular, meaning-based substitutions and semantic anticipations and perseverations, also indicate that semantic properties of roots must be available when roots
are retrieved from List 1; these errors will be subject to discussion in Section 4.2.
In Section 4.3, I am going to have a brief look at the availability and processing of
compositional semanticfeatures.

4.1 Non-random insertion: Distinguishing cats from dogs


According to DM, only compositional semantic features, such as [count noun]
and [animate], are present in the syntax (Marantz 1997; Harley & Noyer 2003).
In contrast, roots (drawn from List 1) that enter the computational system are
assumed to be void of semantic features because such features play no role within
the computational system. The semantic difference between dog and cat, for

Grammar as Processor

example, does not have an effect on any syntactic principle, rule, or constraint.
Consequently, the computational system does not need to know whether a certain terminal node contains dog or cat. It has therefore been suggested that
List 1 does not include different types of roots, such as, for example, dog, cat,
love, blue, etc. Rather, it has been argued that List 1 only contains one syntactic element root (or simply ). Harley & Noyer (2003) suggest that [Root] is
just another morphosyntactic feature that enters the derivation. Clearly, a terminal
node containing root (or [Root]) has to be spelled out by some sort of content
morpheme but the syntax would be indifferent to which content morpheme eventually realizes root. As pointed out by Harley & Noyer (2003:473), a Root morpheme in an appropriately local relation to a Determiner might be filled by cat,
dog, house, table or any other Vocabulary item we would normally call anoun.
Here, I want to depart from the assumption that roots come in only one variant. Rather, I suggest that roots are individually distinguished from the beginning
of the syntactic computation because a full feature description of a Vocabulary
item in terms of general syntactic and compositional semantic features does not
suffice to unambiguously individuate it (also see Siddiqi (2006)). Obviously, at the
point of spell-out, the PF component must know which root a particular terminal node contains; otherwise Vocabulary insertion would proceed at random. In
a sentence like The cat is eating, for instance, the slot of cat might as well be
taken by dog, fish, or porcupine etc. since at the point of Vocabulary insertion,
there is no distinction whatsoever between these items with respect to the features
which determine the insertion of one or the other item. This dilemma is illustrated
in Figure (1). Note that all competing Vocabulary items match the information
root plus compositional semantic features contained in the terminalnode.

(1)

DP
D0

LP

[+]

[animate], [count]

COMPETING VOCABULARY ITEMS:


/kt/

/dfg/

/fi/

/pf:kj~pain/ ...

[anim], [count]

[anim], [count]

[anim], [count]

[anim], [count]

Semantic features in language production

Moreover, the Encyclopedia (List 3) which relates Vocabulary items to meanings must also have access to information about which element appears in a given
node. That is, the use of the Encyclopedia must involve knowledge of Vocabulary
insertion at PF, where a choice between competing Vocabulary items must have
been made. Consequently, the choice of one Vocabulary item over the other (and,
of course, as opposed to all the other items that might be inserted into an l-node
containing root, [animate], and [count noun]) must be registered in order to
allow for interpretation of that item with the help of theEncyclopedia.
In the DM framework, the distinction between the competing items is made
solely on the basis of semantic features in the Encyclopedia. But how can the
appropriate Vocabulary item be inserted when at PF, the terminal node contains
only information like root and features like [pl], [animate], etc.? Looking up
further information in the Encyclopedia is not a solution because based on these
features alone, it is not even clear where to look. Even if distinguishing semantic features (like, for example, [miaouws] or [furry]) are linked to the concept
cat in the Encyclopedia, it remains unclear how the processor, at the point of
semantic interpretation, should know that it is that very concept that it is looking
for. Obviously, the search for a concept cannot be carried out on the basis of the
features present in the computational system. Consistently, Marantz (1995:401)
acknowledgesthat
[f]or an N node that has the features, count noun and animate (among perhaps
others), presumably the Vocabulary entries for cat and dog would be equally
specified with the relevant syntactic and compositional semantic features and
either might be inserted at that node.

Since the difference between cat and dog is a matter of encyclopedic knowledge,
the use of the Encyclopedia to interpret sentence elements must involve knowledge of Vocabulary insertion at PF. But once again, we are caught in the same
trap. Remember that Encyclopedia entries connect the output of the grammar to
non-compositional meanings. That is, the correct interpretation of a sentence in
which the Vocabulary item /kt/ has been inserted at PF (in a node in which
/dg/ could just as well have been inserted) is guaranteed. But still, the particular
choice of one Vocabulary item over the other in the course of the derivation is in
principle a randomone.
I therefore suggest that at least from a processing point of view we need to
assume that semantic/conceptual features are available at a very early point in the
derivation in order to guide the choice of elements from List 1. That is, List 1 does
not only contain morphosyntactic features to be manipulated by the syntax, but
also the formal concepts that will later be interpreted by the Encyclopedia. This
implies that there is not just one root but rather a large number of contentful

Grammar as Processor

roots that are activated and selected on the basis of the concepts that make up
the abstract preverbal message. Thus, the Vocabulary item for cat might look as
indicated in (2a). This Vocabulary item can only be inserted into a terminal node
which contains the specific root cat and it competes for insertion with the item
in (2b), amongst many others, just like Vocabulary items that spell out feature
bundles compete against each other for insertion. In both cases, the item that best
matches the content of the target node will win the competition. Clearly, (2a) will
win the competition for a node containing cat, while (2b) will win the competition for a node containingdog.
(2) a. cat /kt/
b. dog /dg/

Further evidence for the assumption that non-compositional semantic features


are available at the point where elements are selected from List 1 comes from the
analysis of certain types of speech error data which will be subject to discussion in
the followingsection.

4.2 Semantic features in speech errors


Two types of slips in which non-compositional semantic features of roots play a
role are semantic substitutions and anticipations/perseverations of semantic features. Neither of the two types can be accounted for without reference to an early
manipulation of semantic features. I will first take a closer look at semantic noun
substitutions (Section 4.2.1) before describing the properties of semantic anticipations and perseverations (Section4.2.2).
4.2.1 Semantic substitutions
As has already been pointed out in Section 3.1.2, substitution errors come in two
types: meaning-based (semantic) and form-based (phonological) substitutions.
Here, I will only be concerned with the former of the two types. For the sake of
illustration, consider the German examples given in (3) which exemplify some
of the possible semantic relations that may hold between a target word and an
intruding word in a semantic nounsubstitution.1

. The errors in (3) are from the Frankfurt corpus of speech errors. Substitution errors, be they
meaning- or form-based, are only included in my corpus when they give rise to a feature mismatch
or are followed by a gender accommodation. Note that in all substitutions in (3), the intended and
the intruding noun are of identical gender (see Section 5.1.2.2 for further discussion).

Semantic features in language production

The nouns involved in the slip in (3a) Radiergummi (eraser) and Spitzer
(pencil sharpener) are cohyponyms; they are both members of the class of writing implements (also see example (3a) in Chapter 1). In example (3b), the intruder
Hhe (height) is the antonym of the target noun Tiefe (depth). The error in (3c)
exemplifies a case where target and intruder stand in a part-whole relationship: a
branch (Zweig) is part of a tree (Baum). Finally, in (3d), the involved nouns Tafel
(blackboard) and Kreide (chalk) have a somewhat more loose associative connection with eachother.2
(3) a.

hast du
einen Radiergummi da
einen Spitzer
have you(sg) an.m eraser(m)
there a.m pencil.sharpener(m)
Do you have a pencil sharpener?

b. in welcher Hhe,


h, Tiefe
haben sie ge-grab-en

in what.f height(f), er, depth(f) have they part-dig-part

In what height, er, depth did they dig?
c. damit
kommst du
auf keinen grnen Baum

with.that come
you(sg) on no.m green.m tree(m)


grnen Zweig
green.m branch(m)
With that youll never get anywhere.

d. i ch habe keine Tafel


mehr
keine Kreide

I have no.f blackboard(f) anymore no.f chalk(f)

I have no more chalk.

Obviously, in all of the above examples, an intended word has activated a


semantically related item in the semantic network. For some reason, the related
item happens to be selected by the processor and replaces the target word in
the utterance. This phenomenon of mis-selection is not readily explained in
traditional DM terms, since as has been discussed above DM endorses late
(post-syntactic) semantic interpretation of lexical items but not early selection
of roots on semanticgrounds.
As mentioned in Section 3.1.2, in Garretts language production model,
semantic substitutions are assumed to occur at the functional level when the lexicon is accessed for the first time, at that time retrieving lemmata, that is, items
which are only syntactically and semantically (but not phonologically) specified.

. Hotopf (1980) claims that words are never replaced by synonyms or sub- and superordinate expressions, respectively. However, this observation is probably an artifact, since we may
safely assume that, for the most part, such substitutions would go unnoticed. Imagine, for
instance, the substitution of town for city or of dog for poodle.

Grammar as Processor

By definition, meaning-related items are close to each other in a semantic network; activation spreads from one to the other and therefore, a wrong item may
beselected.3
A somewhat different view is taken by Levelt et al. (1999). These authors also
conceive of language production as a staged and strictly feed-forward process,
leading from a preverbal message to the initiation of articulation. In contrast to
Garrett (and others), however, they assign greater importance to the stage of conceptual preparation (the conceptualizer module in Figure (4) in Chapter 3).4
Conceptual preparation is the process which leads to the activation of lexical concepts, the terminal vocabulary of the speakers message construction (Levelt
et al. 1999:8); it is triggered by a speakers communicative intention. Apart from
possible pragmatic causes of lexical concept activation, the theory emphasizes
semantic causes of activation. Within a conceptual network, concept nodes may
be linked to other concept nodes. These conceptual links are labeled in order to
express the nature of the connection, for instance, X is a Y, X is the opposite
of Y, X is part of Y, and so on. In that sense, the concept cat which represents
the meaning of the word cat will be linked to numerous other concepts such as
tomcat, dog, animal, and miaow, and it will spread activation via the links to
the semantically relatedconcepts.
Moreover, lexical concepts which are active at the conceptual stratum spread
activation to corresponding lemma nodes at the lemma stratum. Levelt et al.
(1999) assume that lemma selection is essentially a statistical mechanism which
favors the selection of the highest activated lemma. Crucially, in this conception
of speech production, lemma nodes are not semantically but only syntactically
specified; their selection, however, is triggered by semantic factors. The figure in
(4) illustrates the lexical network underlying lexical access and its components
(adapted from Levelt et al.(1999:4)).

. Harley & MacAndrew (2001) discuss further factors that may have an influence on word
substitution errors. They argue, for instance, that in semantic substitutions, words tend to be
replaced by more imageable competitors, while there is no such imageability effect in phonological substitutions.
. Levelt et al. (1999) do not base their theory on speech error evidence. Rather, they have
developed their model almost exclusively on the basis of evidence from reaction time experiments. They argue that the ultimate test for models of speech production cannot lie in how
they account for infrequent derailments of the process but rather must lie in how they account
for the normal process. Still, their theory is not neutral with respect to speech errors. Ultimately, the model should be able to account for error patterns as well as for the results from
the reaction time experiments.

Semantic features in language production

(4)

Conceptual
Stratum

cohyponym of

is an

Lemma
Stratum

lex.cat.

cat

number
gender

count

/kt/
Form
Stratum

onset

nucleus

coda

/k/

//

/t/

Note that the division of lemma stratum and form stratum is maintained in this
model. That is, the phonological form of a given lemma is accessed only at a later
stage of the derivation. Consequently, in the model, a lexical entry is not a unique
entity but rather consists of a lexical concept, a lemma, and a corresponding phonological form (including morphological, segmental, and metricalstructure).
It is that very property of the model, the separation of semantic, syntactic, and
phonological properties of a given word, which brings us into the vicinity of DM
assumptions. Remember that DM does not assume the existence of a lexicon in the
familiar sense. Rather, there are distributed lists which take over the jobs assigned
to the lexicon component in earlier theories: List 1 (the lexicon) which contains
roots and those (morpho)syntactic features which are relevant to the principles of
syntax, List 2 (the Vocabulary) which contains phonologically specified Vocabulary items, and List 3 (the Encyclopedia) which connects the output of the grammar to non-compositionalmeanings.
My claim is that, with respect to this division of tasks, the processing model
and the grammar theory are readily mapped onto each other. On the one hand,
we may think of List 1 as being the lemma stratum in the processing model,
containing only roots and features drawn from a universal set. On the other

Grammar as Processor

hand, List 2 can be seen as the form stratum containing phonologically specified elements which are to be inserted into terminal nodes according to their
featuralspecification.5
Processing factors, however, suggest a non-trivial modification or rather
enrichment of the DM conception with respect to the selection of items from
List 1. DM advocates are usually indifferent with respect to the question on what
grounds items are selected from this list and for good reason since the syntax
does not care about the meaning of the elements it manipulates. Still, it must be
implicitly assumed that items are retrieved on the basis of what message a speaker
wishes to convey. In a processing model, we need to make this assumption explicit.
That is, during conceptual preparation, concepts are activated according to a preverbal message intention. Concept nodes are linked to meaning components
(properties, semantic relations, etc.) and we may therefore think of the conceptual
network as being identical to List 3, which contains basically the same information. This implies that the Encyclopedia is not only responsible for interpreting
the output of the computational system but also for determining which elements
enter the computational system.6 Activation from the conceptual network is fed
into List 1, the lemma stratum, where the most highly activated elements roots as
well as non-compositional semantic and morphosyntactic features are selected
and enter thederivation.
In line with the reasoning in the previous section, I therefore propose that
the roots which are selected from List 1 bear indices according to what lexical
concept they refer to, a fact which, of course, makes List 1 much more extensive.
Therefore, as argued before, what is retrieved from List 1 is not simply root but
rather a more specific element such as, for example, cat. I wish to emphasize

. Of course, the Vocabulary is not an unstructured list either. Like the conceptual stratum, it
is a multi-linked network where activation flows from target items to phonological neighbors.
Form-based substitutions arise whenever a phonological competitor happens to receive more
activation than the target element.
. Alternatively, one might maintain that the conceptual network and the Encyclopedia are
independent modules where activation in the former sets off the derivation, while the latter
interprets the output of the derivation. Clearly, the two modules contain similar information.
In both, a concept like, for example, cat would be linked to property nodes like miaows,
furry, domestic animal, etc. and to semantically related nodes like dog, mammal, etc.
I leave it to future research to investigate in how far the two modules might also contain
diverging information. It might, for instance, be the case that only the conceptual network
contains concepts like multiple(x) or definite (which would give rise to the activation of
the morphosyntactic features [+pl] and [+def], respectively), while the Encyclopedia does
not require such concepts for its interpretive task.

Semantic features in language production

that this does not imply that roots have any semantic features. In order to account
for semantic substitutions, we must assume that roots are activated on the basis of
their meaning. The selection mechanism, however, only sees activation but is blind
towards the semantics of the roots it selects. I maintain, with DM, that semantic
features do not enter the computational system because they do not play any role
within thatsystem.7
4.2.2 Semantic anticipations and perseverations
The second error type that provides evidence for the early availability of semantic
features are semantic anticipations and perseverations. Just as semantic substitutions, these errors manifest the intrusion of a semantic competitor. In contrast to
the substitutions, however, target and intruder do not compete for the same slot.
Rather, a target concept activates a meaning-related concept whose corresponding lemma then takes another slot in the sentence a fact which indicates that
indeed the slots themselves are not semantically specified. Semantic anticipations
and perseverations come in two slightly different shapes: true semantic anticipations/perseverations and shift-blends. Let us first consider the latter type which is
illustrated by the examples in(5).
In example (5a), the two nouns Toten (dead) and Leichen (corpses) are obviously semantically related. Both concepts are activated at the conceptual level but
no decision is made. Consequently, both corresponding roots are selected from
List 1 and enter the computation. Frequently, an error like this results in a word
blend, that is, a phonological fusion of the corresponding Vocabulary items at
PF. In the present example, however, the result was not a word blend like Teichen
(comparable to English dorpses as a result of blending dead and corpses; also see
(3b) in Chapter 1). Rather, the semantic competitor leiche takes the place of
another root in the utterance, the root sarg (coffin) which is also licensed by a
determiner. That is, the competititor is perseverated into another slot. I therefore
refer to this type of error as ashift-blend.

. Alternatively, we may conceive of the computational system and the semantics as working
in parallel (I am indebted to Heidi Harley for pointing out this possibility to me). That is, a
speaker forms the intention to communicate, for instance, the message The dog chased the
cat. This intention activates two separate modules: (i) the computational system is instructed
to build an intransitive frame for a state verb and to access the necessary (morpho)syntactic
features and the appropriate number of roots; (ii) at the same time, the Encyclopedia is
consulted to inquire what the roots are that are needed to talk about the concepts dog, cat,
and chase, and the Encyclopedia will make available the roots dog, cat and chase. When
the frame has been constructed, the roots that the Encyclopedia has selected are inserted into
the appropriate slots, and the whole thing is sent off to PF for Vocabulary insertion.

Grammar as Processor

(5) a.

sie mss-en die Tote-n auch in die Leiche-n tun


they must-pl the dead-pl also into the corpse-pl do.inf

in
die Srg-e
into the coffin-pl

They also have to put the dead into the coffins.

b. beim Reden sprech-en wir nicht beim Laufen



at.the talking speak-pl we not at.the running

We dont speak while running.

A similar analysis applies to (5b). In this error, the competing roots that both
find their way into the utterance are sprech (speak) and red (talk). (5b) differs from (5a) in two respects: first, the competing root red is anticipated into
another slot and second, red appears in a different licensing environment in the
erroneous utterance. There are 27 shift-blends in mycorpus.
A competing root analysis is not available for the class of true semantic
anticipations and perseverations. Crucially, in the examples in (6), it is hard if
not impossible to conceive of a competing sentence frame that would contain the
anticipated/perseverated element. Hence, the intruding root does not compete
with the target root for the same slot; the only reason for it to appear in the utterance is its semantic relation to the target root. In (6a), for instance, the appearance
of finger (finger) in the utterance is due to the activation of the concept finger
by the semantically related concept zeh (toe) at the conceptual level. In the error,
finger takes the position of the intended root tisch(table).
(6) a.

und dann habe ich mir


den kleinen Zeh am Finger,
and then have I
1.sg.dat the little
toe at.the finger,

h, am Tisch angestossen
er, at.the table knock.on.part
And then I knocked my little toe on the table.

b. ich htte
meine Bohne mit Karotte-n und Erbse-n

I
have.cond my
bean with carrot-pl and pea-pl

mitbring-en knn-en meine Dose


bring-inf
can-inf my
can

I could have brought my can with carrots and peas.

c. they even fly on the wing sleep on the wing

The same line of reasoning can be applied to the other two errors in (6). In (6b),
the intruding concept bohne (bean) has received activation from the semantically related concepts karotte (carot) and erbse (pea). bohne, however,
does not appear in the slot of one of the respective roots but rather takes the slot
of dose (can). There are 22 slips in my corpus that I consider true semantic

Semantic features in language production

anticipation/perseveration.8 Finally, an example of an English semantic anticipation is given in (6c). In this error, the appearance of fly is most probably
caused by the close semantic relationship between the concepts wing and fly
(T. Harley1984:201).
4.2.3 Summary
Clearly, the data in (5) and (6) can only be accounted for when we assume that
specific roots are selected from List 1 based on the activation they receive from the
conceptual level. The distribution of semantic anticipations and perseverations in
my corpus is given in Table(7).
(7)  Distribution of semantic anticipations and perseverations (n =49)

semantic anticipation
true semanticanticipation
7
shift-blend
11

18


semanticperseveration
true semanticperseveration
15
shift-blend
16

31

49

Total

In this section, I have investigated the possibility of bringing into accord the model
of lexical access during speech production with the idea of a distributed lexicon as
postulated in the DM framework. My claim is that, in this respect, the psycholinguistic model and the grammar theory are very well compatible with each other,
provided we supplement the DM-model with a pre-syntactic conceptual level.
Activation from this level determines the selection of items roots and features
from List 1. Without the inclusion of lexical concepts and labeled roots, it is neither warranted that the appropriate Vocabulary item will be inserted into a given
terminal node (random insertion; see Figure (1) above) nor can speech errors
involving semantically related items be accounted for in a straightforwardway.
4.3 A note on compositional semantics
In psycholinguistic production models, lemma nodes are are taken to be directly
connected not only to a set of syntactic properties (including the grammatical
. Admittedly, the distinction between the two types of semantic anticipations/perseverations is not always clear-cut. Hence, the classification of some of the semantic anticipations
and perseverations may be somewhat intuitive.

Grammar as Processor

category of a word) but also to certain (morpho)syntactic features; the latter are
referred to as diacritic parameters by Levelt (1989). Diacritic parameters are of
two kinds: they can either be selected on the basis of the speakers intention as is
true, for instance, for the number feature or they can be lexically specified, that
is, inherent to a given lemma as is true for the gender feature in many languages
(see Section 5.1 for further discusson). Besides that, lemmata are also connected
to compositional semanticfeatures.
While non-compositional semantic features which trigger the selection of
roots from List 1 do not play any role in the syntax as argued in the previous
section compositional semantic features do enter the computational system. We
may therefore expect them to be subject to (mis)manipulation in speech errors
(but see Fodor, Fodor & Garrett 1975). In this section, I will investigate whether
this expectation is borne out in the data. The compositional semantic features to
be considered are [count] (Section 4.3.1), semantic gender (Section 4.3.2), and
semantic negation (Section4.3.3).
4.3.1 The count/mass distinction
In DM, the compositional semantic feature [count] is assumed to be amongst the
features drawn from List 1.9 Consequently, just like morphosyntactic features, this
feature is available at an early stage in the derivation and plays a role within the
computational system. The root cat, for instance, will come with information
which specifies that the root refers to a count noun; therefore, cat can either be
combined with a singular or with a plural number feature. In contrast, water is
linked to a feature which specifies that it refers to a mass noun ([count]) and may
therefore not bepluralized.10
Convincing experimental evidence for the assumption that the feature
[count] is available during language production comes from tip-of-the-tongue
. In the present context, the term compositionality is not used in its Fregean sense. According to Freges Principle of Compositionality, the meaning of a sentence is computed on
the basis of the meaning of its well-formed parts and the syntactic relations of these parts
to each other. For the (non-syntactic) compositional semantics of concepts see, for example,
Katz (1972).
. Experimental results suggest that these features are selected only when actually needed
in the local syntactic environment of the noun. That is, they are selected only when the speaker
has to produce a phrase but not when he has to produce a bare noun (Schriefers 1993; van
Berkum 1997). Consequently, Roelofs, Meyer & Levelt (1998) distinguish between the activation and the selection of a feature. The gender of a noun, for example, is selected when needed
to choose the correct definite determiner, but in producing a bare noun, the gender information will only be activated but not selected.

Semantic features in language production

(TOT) experiments conducted by Vigliocco, Vinson, Martin & Garrett (1999). In


a TOT-state, a speaker has the feeling of knowing a word but is unable to retrieve
the (complete) phonological form of that word (see Brown (1991) for an overview). Vigliocco et al. show that more often than not, subjects who are not able to
retrieve the phonological form of a word are still able to retrieve information on
the count versus mass status of that word. Target words in the experiment were
items like, for instance, mysogynist (count noun) and asparagus (mass noun).
The count/mass nature of a given target word was tested by asking the subjects
in which of the sentence contexts in (8) they would use the word. The contexts in
(8a) are appropriate for mass nouns, while the ones in (8b) are the corresponding
contexts for countnouns.
(8) a. There is ____; There wont be much ____;
b. There is a ____; There wont be many ____;

There is some ____


There are a few ____

In most of the cases, subjects were able to choose the appropriate context even
though they were not able to produce the phonological form of the target word.
This experimental result is taken as evidence for the early availability of compositional semanticfeatures.
Unfortunately, convincing evidence from spontaneous speech errors that
would support this assumption is sparse. Noun substitutions involving mass and
count nouns might be a touchstone for the processing of the feature [count] in
production. Depending on where that feature is specified and processed, we might
expect the interacting nouns to match with respect to that feature. We must, however, take into account that count nouns are much more frequent in German (as
well as in English). Consequently, there are only very few errors involving mass
nouns in the Frankfurt corpus (only 12 out of 554 noun substitutions), three of
which are given in(9).11
In the meaning-based substitution in (9a), two mass nouns interact: the mass
noun Kaffee (coffee) is substituted for the mass noun Milch (milk). In (9b), the
mass noun Wsche (linen) replaces the count noun Bett (bed) (note that Wsche
may also mean laundry; therefore, the error could also be analyzed as a blend of
to do the laundry and to strip the bed). In (9c), we observe the opposite pattern:
the count noun Brtchen (roll) appears in the position of the intended mass noun
Kaffee(coffee).

. Here, I only consider meaning-based substitutions, since, presumably, compositional semantic features do not play a role when Vocabulary items are selected from List 2, the point in
the derivation at which form-based substitutions may occur.

Grammar as Processor

(9) a. eine Thermoskanne mit Kaffee, Thermoskanne mit Milch



a
vacuum.flask with coffee, vacuum.flask with milk

a vacuum flask with milk
b. i ch will heute die Wsche abziehen das Bett

I
want today the linen
strip
the bed

I want to strip the bed today.
c.

soll ich schon die


Brtchen aufsetz-en den Kaffee
shall I
already the.pl roll.pl
put.on-inf the coffee
Shall I already put on the coffee?

Possibly, the error in (9c) is somewhat more informative than the other ones.
Interestingly, the noun Brtchen appears in its plural form, as is indicated by the
plural article die (Brtchen takes a zero plural suffix). However, the slot in which
it intrudes is either marked for [pl] or, assuming that mass nouns are unspecified for number, not marked for number at all.12 Where, then, does the plural
feature come from? A possible, albeit speculative, explanation might be that the
[count] specification of Kaffee is stranded. Clearly, the featural specification of
the intruder, the count noun Brtchen, is incompatible with the stranded feature.
Possibly, the processor tries to resolve this conflict by introducing the plural feature, thereby bringing the intruding noun as close to a mass interpretation as possible although, even in the plural, Brtchen remains countable, ofcourse.
In my corpus, there are six root exchanges with similar characteristics; two
of these are given in (10). In (10a), reis (rice) changes place with topf (pot),
that is, a mass noun changes place with a singular count noun which subsequently
surfaces in its plural form. Again, it seems reasonable to assume that the [count]
feature of reis is to be held responsible for the appearance of the plural form of
topf. Note, however, that in (10a), the syntactic context requires a plural form.
In the intended utterance, reis is not accompanied by a determiner. In the singular, however, this option is only available for mass nouns. In other words: if
topf had not surfaced in its plural form, the utterance (Topf in den Reis) would
have been ungrammatical. Consequently, for this slip, it is not clear which factor is
decisive in triggering the plural form of the count noun. Possibly, both factors, the
[count] feature and the syntactic frame, join forces in determining the morphosyntactic properties of the erroneousutterance.13

. As a matter of fact, the noun substitution in (9c) is the only one in the Frankfurt corpus
in which a singular noun is substituted by a plural noun.
. The same is true for two more of the errors from my corpus that might be analyzed as
involving stranding of [count]. That is, for three out of a total of only seven slips of that type,
the syntactic context might be of influence.

Semantic features in language production

(10) a. du


kann-st schon mal Tpf-e in
den Reis tun

you(sg) can-2.sg already
pot-pl into the rice do.inf

Reis in
den Topf
rice into the pot

You can already put rice into the pot.

b. fll-st du
bitte die
Flasche-n in
den Sand,

fill-2.sg you(sg) please the.pl bottle-pl into the.m sand(m),

h, den Sand
in
die
Flasche
er, the.m sand(m) into the.f bottle(f)

Would you please fill the sand into the bottle?

The exchange in (10b) is quite similar to (10a): after having been exchanged with
the mass noun Sand (sand), the count noun Flasche (bottle) surfaces in the plural.
Still, in this example, the appearance of the plural form cannot be attributed to the
syntactic context in which the count noun appears. Crucially, in (10b), both roots
are accompanied by determiners. Hence, in contrast to (10a), the structure resulting from the exchange would be fully grammatical even if flasche had been
spelled out in the singular, that is, if the resulting utterance had been die Flasche in
den Sand. Again, it seems reasonable to assume that the [count] feature is to be
held responsible for the appearance of the plural form of the countnoun.14
4.3.2 Semantic (natural) gender
As is well known, in German, but not in English, morphosyntactic gender plays an
important role in the derivation of an utterance. All nouns are inherently specified
for one of three genders (feminine, masculine, or neuter) and their gender feature

In the root exchange in (i), the appearance of a plural form is even more surprising. In this
error, both of the involved nouns, Obst (fruit) and Saft (juice) are mass nouns. Still, saft
surfaces in the plural. The reason for this unexpected morphosyntactic modification might be
that Saft, in contrast to Obst, does have a plural form when the intended meaning is types of
juice. The pluralization option alone, however, does not explain the surfacing plural form.

(i) Obst aus Sft-en schmeckt oft
besser als Obst selbst,
fruit from juice-pl tastes
often better than fruit itself,

h, Saft aus Obst


er, juice from fruit

Juice from fruit often tastes better than fruit itself.

. Note that in (10b), there are also various accommodation processes at work: the first determiner accommodates to the (newly introduced) plural feature of Flaschen, while the second
determiner accommodates to the masculine gender of Sand.

Grammar as Processor

will be copied onto other material within DP before spell-out. Besides that, certain
nouns may also have semantic (that is, biological or natural) gender. A German noun
like, for instance, Gabel (fork) is morphosyntactically specified for [feminine],
while a noun like Mutter (mother) comes with a morphosyntactic and a semantic
feminine gender feature. In the following, I will only be concerned with the possible
role of semantic gender in speech errors; the role of grammatical gender in language
production will be considered in some detail in Sections 5.1 and5.4.4.
Again, there are only a few relevant errors in my corpus, most of which
involve kinship terms. Consider first the error in (11a). One way to account for
the appearance of the intruder Schwester (sister) might be to claim that the concept brother is a combination of the conceptual features sibling and male.
In the error, the semantic gender of Frau (wife) is perseverated and combines
with sibling, thereby yielding a combination that will be spelled out as Schwester.
However, an arguably simpler way to explain (11a) might be to analyze it as a
semantic substitution, followed by morphosyntactic accommodation of the possessive pronoun (note that the speaker does not have asister).
(11) a. das Gleiche gilt
fr die
Frau
mein-er Schwester,

the same
holds for the.f wife(f) my-f.gen sister(f)

h, mein-es
Bruder-s
er, my-m.gen brother(m)-gen

The same holds for the wife of my brother.

b. ich meine die


Mutter
mein-es
Bruder-s,

I
mean the.f mother(f) my-m.gen brother(m)-gen,

h, den Vater
mein-er Schwester, nee, noch mal,
er, the.m father(m) my-f.gen sister(f), no, once again,

ich meine die


Schwester mein-es
Vater-s
I
mean the.f sister(f) my-m.gen father(m)-gen

I mean the sister of my father.

A substitution account is not available for the impressive and complex error in
(11b). This slip involves an unsuccessful repair attempt followed by the correct
utterance (such gradual approximations are sometimes referred to as conduite
dapproche). Let us neglect the repair, which can be analyzed as a root exchange,
and focus on the first part of the error. As suggested before, one may analyze the concept schwester (sister) as a combination of sibling and female and the concept
father (father) as a combination of parent and male. Following this line of argumentation, the error receives a straightforward explanation when we assume that
the atomic concepts sibling and parent are exchanged, while the semantic gender
features are stranded. This will give rise to the combinations {parent, female} and

Semantic features in language production

{sibling, male} which will be spelled out as Mutter (mother) and Bruder (brother),
respectively.15 In (12), I give the relevant part of the syntactic structure for (11b),
neglecting morphosyntactic processes like case assignment and feature copy onto
theD-positions.
DP

(11)
D
[+]

LP
L

DP
D

LP

[+]
[1.]

exchange
of concepts

The exchange takes place prior to Vocabulary insertion. At PF, the Vocabulary items
that best fit the content of the terminal nodes will be selected from List 2 for insertion.
As far as the l-nodes in (12) are concerned, these are the Vocabulary items in(13).
(13) a. {parent, female}
b. {sibling, male}

/mt/
/bru:d/

Actually, (11b) is the only example from my corpus that I consider unambiguous evidence for the manipulation of semantic gender in language production. Yet
another phenomenon is illustrated in (14a). In this example, the possessive pronoun agrees with respect to grammatical gender with the noun Mutter (mother),

. Cutler (1980b:692) reports the strikingly similar French exchange error in (i). Just like
(11b), this error is best analyzed as stranding of semantic gender features. If we treat mere
(mother) as a combination of parent plus female and mari (husband) as a combination of
spouse and male, then the error is simply the result of exchanging spouse and parent. In its
new slot, the concept spouse combines with female and the matching Vocabulary item femme
(wife) is inserted. The concept parent combines with male and voil! pre (father) will
be selected for insertion.

(i) la femme de son pre la mre


de son mari
the wife
of her father the mother of her husband
the mother of her husband

Grammar as Processor

as is reflected in the case/gender-suffix (a portmanteau morpheme) -er. On top of


that, however, the pronoun itself agrees in gender with its antecedent. In the error,
the pronoun appears in the feminine form ihr (her) instead of the intended masculine form sein (his). In other words: the pronoun is doubly marked for gender.
The question is whether it is the (compositional) semantic gender of Mutter which
turns sein into ihr or the morphosyntactic gender feature. One might argue that
grammatical gender is not capable of triggering that change since the intended
form seiner is already specified for feminine grammatical gender and this specification remains unchanged in theerror.16
(14) a.

es war das Gleiche wie bei ihr-er


Mutter
it was the same
as with 3.sg.f.poss-dat.f mother(f)

bei sein-er
Mutter
with 3.sg.m.poss-dat.f mother(f)

It was the same as with his mother.

b. er hat dir


sein-e Adresse
gegeben, damit du
ihr,

he has 2.sg.dat his-f address(f) given
so.that you(sg) 3.sg.f.dat

h, ihm
ein-e Postkarte
schreib-en kann,
kann-st
er, 3.sg.m.dat a-f postcard(f) write-inf can.3.sg, can-2.sg

He has given you his address so that you can write him a postcard.

Admittedly, the above argumentation is somewhat speculative, and it becomes even


more dubious in light of (14b). In this error, the third person dative pronoun surfaces
in its feminine instead of its masculine form just as in (14a). Here, however, there
is no semantic gender feature in the vicinity of the error element that could be held
responsible for the change in gender. Therefore, this error is most probably caused
by erroneously copying a grammatical gender feature onto the pronoun note that
both the preceding noun Adresse (address) and the following noun Postkarte (postcard) are of feminine gender (see Section 5.4.4 for furtherdiscussion).
. The question of whether agreement processes that involve conceptual (notional) gender
are susceptible to attraction is addressed in a study by Slevc, Wardlow Lane & Ferreira (2007).
Using an elicitation technique, they investigate whether speakers would erroneously produce
sentences with genitive pronouns that do not correctly agree with their antecedent, like the one
given in (i) note that the genitive pronoun is supposed to be co-referent with the subject.

(i) Victor carried a package to her sister


(ii) Victoria carried a package to his sister

The results show that speakers are three times more likely to produce agreement errors when
the notional gender of the subject and indirect object mismatched (as in (i)) than when the
genders matched (as in (ii)). Thus, just like other agreement processes, notional gender agreement appears to be susceptible to attraction by other elements.

Semantic features in language production

4.3.3 Semantic negation


Just like gender, negation can fulfill various functions within the computational
system. First of all, negation can be syntactic. In this case, the feature [+neg] drawn
from List 1 will project a negative phrase (NegP) in the syntax and will change
the polarity of the sentence (Pollock 1989; Laka 1990; Haegeman 1995; Zanuttini
1997). Secondly, the same feature can function as morphological negation when
it appears under one and the same terminal node with a root (for instance, with
clear to express the meaning unclear). In contrast to syntactic negation, morphological negation does not change the polarity of thesentence.
In this section, I will not be concerned with syntactic and morphological
negation; both these functions will be addressed in Section 5.4.3. Here, I will only
discuss speech errors that may be taken to manifest the manipulation of semantic negation. There are four such errors in my corpus, two of which are given in
(15). Presumably, in (15a), the verb unterlassen (to refrain from) is semantically
negative in that it expresses the meaning to not do something. That is, the verb
possesses an inherent negative feature which enters the computational system together
with the verb. Presumably, in the error, this inherent feature is anticipated into the
matrix clause where it enriches the syntactic structure by projecting aNegP.
(15) a.

ich mchte dich nicht bitt-en, das zu unterlass-en


I
want
you not
ask-inf that to refrain.from-inf

ich mchte dich bitt-en, das zu unterlass-en


I
want
you ask-inf that to refrain.from-inf

I want to ask you to refrain from that.

b. die un-vorhergesagte, die vorhergesagte Sturmflut



the un-predicted,
the predicted
storm.tide

blieb
glcklicherweise aus
fail.to.appear.past fortunately
particle

Fortunately, the predicted storm tide failed to appear.

The same line of reasoning can be applied to (15b). As before, the verb ausbleiben
(to fail to appear) is semantically negative; the meaning it expresses can be paraphrased as to not happen. During the derivation, the negative feature associated
with the verb is anticipated but, in contrast to (15a), it does not project but rather
combines with a root, the root vorhersag (predict). In this context, the negative feature will be spelled out by the negativeprefix /un-/.
4.3.4 Summary
The question whether conceptual vocabulary is just a set of lexical concepts or,
rather, a set of primitive conceptual features that make up these lexical concepts

Grammar as Processor

is, of course, a classical and controversial issue (Fodor et al. 1975, 1980). In the
theory of Levelt et al. (1999), for instance, lexical concepts are taken to be noncompositional in nature, that is, they are not represented by sets of semantic features (also see Roelofs1997).
In this section, I have investigated whether there is any evidence from speech
errors for the existence of such primitive conceptual features. Interesting as the
examples discussed in this section may be, we still have to conclude that the very
small number of relevant errors and the somewhat speculative character of their
interpretation do not allow for any safe conclusions about the processing of compositional semantic features (see Section 5.2.2.8 for discussion of the compositional semantic feature [animate]). The distribution of (possibly) relevant errors
from my corpus is given in(16).
(16) Distribution of errors involving compositional semantic features (n =17)

feature stranding
[count]
7
semantic (natural)gender 1


featureshift

semanticnegation

semantic (natural)gender

Total

4
5
17

4.4 Conclusion
In this chapter, I have taken a closer look at the role of non-compositional and
compositional semantic features in language production. First, I have argued that
non-compositional semantic features must be available at the outset of the derivation and that these features guide the choice of elements from List 1. Crucially,
List 1 does not only contain one primitive root but rather labeled roots (such
as dog and cat) which are selected on the basis of activation at the conceptual
level. I have shown that otherwise, the insertion of the appropriate Vocabulary
items at PF cannot be guaranteed and moreover, speech errors that involve the
manipulation of semantically related elements cannot be accounted for. The early
availability of semantic features, however, does not imply that these features enter
the computational system together with roots and features. Rather, I have argued
that the processor selects roots from List 1 on basis of their activation but is blind
to the semantics of the activatedroots.

Semantic features in language production

Secondly, I have considered the manipulation of compositional semantic


features. According to DM, compositional semantic features, in contrast to noncompositional ones, do enter the computational system. We may therefore expect
these features to play a role in speech errors. Unfortunately, there are only few
speech errors in my corpus that would provide unambiguous evidence for the
manipulation of compositional semantic features. We may speculate, of course,
that these features are not easily detached from the roots or the other features they
combine with and that therefore, they are only rarely affected (shifted or stranded)
in speech errors. In this respect, they contrast with morphosyntactic features such
as number and tense features which will be subject to closer inspection in the
followingchapter.

chapter 5

Morphosyntactic features
in language production
While there are only few errors that furnish proof that compositional semantic features are processed in the course of language production, there is overwhelming
error evidence for the assumption that the processor has access to the morphosyntactic features drawn from List 1 when generating an utterance. The morphosyntactic features that will be of interest in the discussion of the German speech errors
are number, person, gender, tense and case features as well as the negation feature.
The first three feature types participate in agreement processes with number being
the only of the three that plays a role in both subject-verb agreement and DPinternal agreement. No matter whether one assumes the adjunction of agreement
nodes at MS followed by feature copy or whether one endorses the insertion of
fully inflected forms (drawn from the numeration) followed by a process of feature
checking, it is clear that, at some point during the derivation, these features must
be visible to the processor visibility being a prerequisite for manipulation and
manipulation being error-prone. Gender is different from the other feature types
because it is an inherent feature of roots. It will be shown that the special status
of gender features limits their possibility to participate in speech errors. Case features, on the other hand, are the only features that are not drawn from List 1. In
German, these features are introduced by virtue of case-assignments properties
of verbs and prepositions. Finally, tense and negation are commonly assumed to
head functional projections of their own, while the same is not necessarily the case
for the other features although suggestions along these lines have been made in
theliterature.
This section will provide evidence for the psychological reality of the beforementioned feature types. I will start out in Section 5.1 by discussing the role of
grammatical gender in noun substitutions. In particular, I will consider the possibility of gender underspecification and will test predictions concerning gender
accommodation. Moreover, I will present errors involving gender mismatch. A
different type of feature mismatch, subject-verb agreement errors, will be subject
to discussion in Sections 5.2 and 5.3. Remember that in DM, person and number
features of a subject DP are assumed to be copied onto the AgrS node at the level

Grammar as Processor

of MS (see Section 3.2.2). Occasionally, this copy process may be defective, that is,
a wrong DP may be chosen as the agreement controller. Subject-verb agreement
errors come in two types, as local agreement errors (Section 5.2) and as longdistance agreement errors (Section 5.3), with the former type being much more
common. Section 5.2 also includes a subsection on errors involving local gender
agreement. The manipulation of morphosyntactic features will be subject to further investigation in Section 5.4. In this section, I will discuss various spontaneous errors in which a morphosyntactic feature is either left behind in its original
position (that is, stranded) or displaced (that is, shifted, exchanged, anticipated, or
perseverated). Section 5.5 concludes the survey of the manipulation of morphosyntactic features in speechproduction.

5.1 The processing of grammatical gender


In languages which make use of a gender system, the establishment of gender agreement relations is a frequent phenomenon. On the basis of a corpus analysis, van
Berkum (1997) estimates that a native speaker of Dutch must retrieve a nouns gender approximately every ten seconds in spontaneous speech. And Dutch, one must
say, is a language with a relatively poor degree of gender marking limited to singular
nouns. Many languages have a much more extensive gender system (Corbett1991).
Gender agreement is commonly attested within the determiner phrase but
also between nouns and co-referential pronouns (for example, personal and relative pronouns). In German, elements within the DP determiners, adjectives, and
quantifiers agree with the head noun not only in gender but also in number
and case. Table (1) illustrates the complexity of agreement within definite German
DPs; the examples used are der kluge Mann (the clever man) for the masculine
paradigm, die kluge Frau (the clever woman) for the feminine paradigm, and das
kluge Kind (the clever child) for the neuter paradigm. Note that the agreement
patterns are somewhat different for indefiniteDPs.

(1) Agreement within the GermanDP


nom

gen

acc

dat

masc.

sg
pl

der kluge Mann


des klugen Mannes den klugen Mann dem klugen Mann
die klugen Mnner der klugen Mnner die klugen Mnner den klugen Mnnern

fem.

sg
pl

die kluge Frau


der klugen Frau
die kluge Frau
der klugen Frau
die klugen Frauen der klugen Frauen die klugen Frauen den klugen Frauen

neuter sg
pl

das kluge Kind


des klugen Kindes das kluge Kind
dem klugen Kind
die klugen Kinder der klugen Kinder die klugen Kinder den klugen Kindern

Morphosyntactic features in language production

In this section, I will only be concerned with gender agreement within DP and
specifically with feature copy (and lack thereof) in noun substitution errors. Other
types of errors that give rise to gender mismatch within DP will be discussed in
Sections 5.4.4 and 6.7.1.2. Gender agreement between nouns and pronouns (erroneous feature copy) has already been briefly mentioned in Section 4.3.2 (see example (14b)) and will be subject to further discussion in Section 5.2.5 where I analyze
speech errors which manifest local genderagreement.
Schriefers & Jescheniak (1999) point out several considerations which motivate
the psycholinguists interest in the investigation of grammatical gender. Two of these
are of major importance in the present context: Firstly, grammatical gender is a lexical, that is, inherent, property of nouns. Since both theories of language production
and Distributed Morphology make clear predictions about the storage and retrieval
of such properties, we may investigate whether they converge with respect to gender
processing. Secondly, grammatical gender is also a paradigmatic case for studying the
actual use of morphosyntactic information in grammatical encoding. Consequently,
speech errors may provide clues about the establishment of agreementrelations.
In the present context, a first question concerns the storage versus computation of gender. That is, we need to ask whether grammatical gender in German
is simply stored as a syntactic property of nouns or whether it is computed on
the basis of certain semantic, morphological, or phonological characteristics of
a given noun. This question will be dealt with in Section 5.1.1. If it turns out that
gender in German is in fact stored information, then a second question emerges,
namely where and how it is stored. In Section 5.1.2, I will address this question. In
particular, since DM allows for the underspecification of certain features (or feature values), I will consider the possibility of gender underspecification. A closer
look at meaning- and form-based noun substitutions suggests that the gender
feature must be specified throughout. Interestingly, based on the course of the
syntactic derivation as assumed in DM, we can make clear predictions about the
(im)possibility of gender accommodation following both types of noun substitutions. These predictions will be tested in Section 5.1.3. Again, I am going to show
how the morphosyntactic theory can be matched with the assumptions made in
psycholinguistic models of languageproduction.
5.1.1 Definition and assignment of gender
Following Matthews (1997:248), grammatical gender may be defined as a system
in which the class to which a noun is assigned is reflected in the forms that are
taken by other elements syntactically related to that noun. In German, for instance,
in the nominative case, the masculine nouns Mann (man) and Lffel (spoon)
require the masculine form der of the definite article, while the feminine nouns

Grammar as Processor

Frau (woman) and Gabel (fork) require the feminine form die, and neuter nouns
like Kind (child) and Messer (knife) require the neuter form das (see Table (1)).
Thus, agreement in gender between a noun and other related items is crucial to the
concept of grammaticalgender.
As has already been pointed out in Section 4.3.2, it is important to distinguish
grammatical gender from the related concept of natural gender, or sex. Although
gender systems exist in which grammatical gender is closely correlated with sex
(see below), in many others, we observe striking mismatches between gender and
sex. In his brilliant essay on The awful German language (1878), Mark Twain gives
some particularly dramatic examples for such mismatches in German:
Every noun has a gender, and there is no sense or system in the distribution; so
the gender of each must be learned separately and by heart. [] In German, a
young lady has no sex, while a turnip has. Think what overwrought reverence that
shows for the turnip, and what callous disrespect for the girl. [] In the German
it is true that by some oversight of the inventor of the language, a Woman is a
female; but a Wife (Weib) is not, which is unfortunate. (Twain 2000:24ff)

Obviously, in German, gender as a grammatical category must be kept distinct


from sex as a semantic, or perhaps conceptual,category.
As far as the assignment of nouns to genders is concerned, there are two major
principles involved, namely semantic principles and formal principles (Corbett
1991). By a semantic principle, nouns are assigned to a gender according to their
meaning. In Avar, a Northeastern Caucasian language spoken in the Caucasus,
for instance, the assignment of gender is straightforward: male human denotation implies masculine gender, female human denotation feminine gender, and
all other nouns are neuter (Comrie 1999). Actually, English has a very similar
system. However, in English, only third person singular pronouns agree in gender
with a co-referential noun, as is reflected in the distinction between masculine
he, feminine she, and neuter it (in contrast to, for example, Turkish, where, in the
total absence of a gender system, only one third person singular pronoun is used).
As in Avar, nouns denoting male humans are masculine, nouns denoting female
humans are feminine, and other nouns areneuter.
In other languages, there is a clear correlation between the phonological
form of a noun and its grammatical gender. In other words, nouns may also be
assigned a gender feature according to a formal principle. In Italian and Spanish
with their two-gender systems, for instance, most nouns ending in -o are masculine, while most nouns ending in -a are feminine. However, there are numerous exceptions to this pattern (for example, Spanish drama (drama) is masculine,
while radio (radio) is feminine). Similarly, the morphological form of a noun may
determine its gender. In German, for instance, derivational suffixes make a nouns

Morphosyntactic features in language production

gender predictable. To give just two examples: nouns that bear one of the diminutive suffixes -chen and -lein are always neuter (irrespective of the gender of the
base noun), while nouns derived by the nominalizing suffix -ung are always of
femininegender.
In German, however, the gender of only a very small percentage of nouns can
be predicted on the basis of semantic and phonological properties of the noun.
As Mark Twain notes, there is no sense or system in the distribution, that is, the
German gender system is largely arbitrary. With the exclusion of the relatively few
cases in which gender is also a semantic feature of the respective concept (such as
Mutter (mother(f)), Onkel (uncle(m)), and Kuh (cow(f)), there is no obvious
semantic basis for the gender taken by a noun. This fact is neatly illustrated by the
category silverware (see above): the German nouns for knife, fork, and spoon are
all of different gender.1 The lack of a semantic basis for gender assignment is further corroborated by the fact that the gender of a noun may vary across languages:
flower and flute, for instance, are masculine in Italian but feminine in French and
inGerman.
5.1.2 Underspecification of grammatical gender
The above discussion suggests that grammatical gender in German is not computed anew on the basis of a nouns semantic or phonological properties each time
it is needed. Rather, a nouns gender is autonomously specified with respect to its
semantic features and its phonological form. That is, grammatical gender is stored
as an inherent syntactic property of nouns. Moreover, certain derivational affixes
must also be inherently specified for a genderfeature.
If grammatical gender is in fact stored information, then the question of how
and where it is stored emerges. In Levelts model of language production (Levelt
1989; Levelt et al. 1999; see Section 3.1), all nouns of a given grammatical gender
are taken to be linked to one gender node specifiying this grammatical gender.
That is, instead of specifying each nouns grammatical gender separately in the
corresponding lexical entry, there is only one abstract node for each grammatical
gender. To be more precise, it is not the noun which is linked to the gender node

. The assumption of an essentially arbitrary relation between a German noun and its grammatical gender has not remained unchallenged. Complex rule systems have been proposed
that may guide the assignment of a nouns gender once certain phonological, morphological,
and semantic information about that noun are taken into account (cf. Zubin & Kpcke 1981,
1986; MacWhinney, Leinbach, Taraban & McDonald 1989; Konishi 1993; Schwichtenberg &
Schiller 2004). However, in some cases, the principles that are adduced are of such complexity
that one may question their validity or at least their explanatory power.

Grammar as Processor

but rather the nouns lemma, that is, an abstract lexicon entry which is not specified
for phonological features but only connects to nodes representing the words syntactic properties (syntactic category and morphosyntactic features; see Figure (4)
in Chapter 4). The phonological form of a target word becomes activated only
after the corresponding lemma has beenselected.
This conception of language production, however, does not facilitate any predictions about the precise nature of the connection between a lemma node and
its gender feature. Rather, it is simply assumed that a language-specific number of
gender nodes exists and that lemmas are always linked to a gender node. Clearly,
this is not the only conceivable option. As mentioned above, within the theoretical framework I adopt, we need to investigate the possibility that there are gaps
with respect to these links. In principle, there are two options for the underspecification of a given feature, both of which will be subject to investigation in the
followingsubsections.
First, a feature may be underspecified within the computational system, which
implies that it is not among those features that are relevant to that system and is
therefore not drawn from the universal feature set (List 1). Consequently, such
a feature can neither fulfill a function within the computational system nor can
it have an influence on the insertion of one Vocabulary item over another. Gender is a potential candidate for this type of underspecification, one might argue,
because it does not figure prominently within the computational system (it does,
for instance, not trigger any movement operations). Therefore, one may hypothesize that it need not be present in thissystem.
A second possibility is the underspecification of Vocabulary items (List 2)
with respect to some feature. As pointed out in Section 3.2.3, the Vocabulary items
which are inserted at PF may be underspecified for the morphosyntactic feature
complexes that they realize. For instance, as noted by Halle & Marantz (1993), the
English past participle ending /-d/ in a sentence like I had played tennis all day
will correspond only to the feature [+past] in its Vocabulary entry although, in
this example, it will be inserted at a node that contains the feature [+participle]
in addition to the feature [+past]. Remember that, for a Vocabulary item to be
inserted, it is only important that it does not conflict with any of the features contained in the terminal node. Hence, in case a Vocabulary item is underspecified for
gender, it may in principle be inserted at a terminal node no matter what gender
specification that nodehas.
In the following, I am going to argue that a closer examination of speech error
data strongly suggests that, at least in German, neither of the two options for gender underspecification sketched above is available. Rather, gender features must be
present, that is, specified, throughout. The evidence I discuss comes from errors
involving gender accommodation (Section 5.1.2.1) and from the identical gender
effect (Sections 5.1.2.2 and5.1.2.3).

Morphosyntactic features in language production

5.1.2.1 Gender accommodation


Let us first consider the option that gender features are not amongst the universal
features contained in List 1 and do therefore not play any role in the derivation of
a sentence before Vocabulary insertion takes place at PF. This option is easily ruled
out by the fact that gender specifications do, of course, influence the syntactic
derivation. Before Vocabulary insertion applies, the gender feature of a given noun
must be copied onto other elements within the DP, such as the article and adjectives, as well as onto co-referential pronouns. Otherwise, the correct insertion of
Vocabulary items is not guaranteed.2 Consider, for instance, the following three
representative slips from my corpus, all of which involve accommodation of some
element with respect to gender (accommodation sites areunderlined).
In the error (2a), two nouns with different gender specifications, Knoten
(knot) and Zunge (tongue), have been exchanged. In both positions, the material in D, one definite and one indefinite article, accommodates to the gender feature of the new noun; moreover, in the erroneous utterance, the definite masculine
dative article dem cliticizes to the preposition in (yielding im). Consequently, the
ungrammatical utterance *einen Zunge in der Knoten, in which neither of the two
determiners matches the gender feature of the noun, is suppressed. In (2b), the nonhead element Frage (question) of the compound Fragesatz (interrogative clause) is
perseverated and its feminine gender feature is correctly copied onto the adjective
normal (normal) which is spelled outaccordingly.
(2) a. irgendwie hab-e
ich heute ein-e Zunge
im
Knoten

somehow have-1.sg I today a-f.acc tongue(f) in.the.m.dat knot(m)

ein-en Knoten in der


Zunge
a-m.acc knot(m) in the.f.dat tongue(f)

SomehowImtyingmytongueinknotstoday.

b. der Unterschied von Frage-satz


und normal-er
Frage

the difference of question-clause and normal-f.dat question(f)

von Frage-satz
und normal-em
Satz
of question-clause and normal-m.dat sentence(m)

thedifferencebetweeninterrogativeclauseandnormalclause

c. ob
dein
Irrtum genauso ausfllt wie mein-er

whether your.m error(m) exactly turn.out like mine-m

ob
dein Urteil
genauso ausfllt wie mein-es
whether your.n judgement(n) exactly turn.out like mine-n

whetheryourjudgementwillturnouttobeexactlylikemine

. See Mller (2004) for further arguments in favour of the assumption that gender features
are provided to the syntax and Albright (2007) for critical evaluation of this assumption.

Grammar as Processor

The slip in (2c) without doubt, a gem for every disciple of Freud exemplifies
an instance of a meaning-based substitution: the masculine noun Irrtum (error)
replaces Urteil (judgement) which is of neuter gender. Here, gender accommodation is not observed within DP (in the nominative case, the possessive pronoun
dein (your) is the same for masculine and neuter nouns). Rather, it is the coreferential possessive pronoun in the elliptic comparative phrase that is adjusted
according to the masculine feature of the intrudingnoun.
In (3), I supply an exemplary syntactic structure for the error (2a). The tree
in (3) represents only the relevant part of the utterance (the object DP) after the
root exchange has taken place. Note that the case feature which according to
DM assumptions is implemented at MS also plays a crucial role: accusative case
is assigned to the DP eine Zunge (a tongue) by the verb haben (to have), while
dative case is assigned to the DP dem Knoten (the knot) by the preposition in; both
case specifications influence the surface forms of the respectivedeterminers.3
(3)

DPACC
LP

D
[]

PP
DPDAT

[][]
feature
copy

LP

[+]

[in]

[][]

feature
copy

At MS, the morphosyntactic features of the roots will be copied onto the respective
determiner nodes. The copy mechanism does not only target the gender feature
but also the number feature, since spell-out of the determiner also depends on the
number feature in D (see Table (1)). In (3), I specify the number feature as [pl].
Note, however, that I will argue in Section 5.2.2.5 that [pl] is a default value and
is not amongst the features drawn from List1.
. As is well-known, the status of prepositions is a matter of debate. In the present context, I
shall therefore leave open the question whether P constitutes an l-node or an f-node, or, to put
it differently, whether P is occupied by a root or by some feature (or feature combination).

Morphosyntactic features in language production

In (4), the Vocabulary items to be inserted into the D-positions at PF are


given. Crucially, if the roots were not specified for gender, correct insertion of
determiners could not be guaranteed. For example, a determiner position which is
characterized only by the features [+def], [dat], and [pl] might as well be taken
by the definite articleder.4
(4) a. [def][acc][f] /ain/
b. [+def] [dat]

[pl][m]
/de:m/

Crucially, within the DM framework, we cannot assume that the gender feature
is copied from the noun the respective Vocabulary items being specified for
that feature onto D after the noun has been inserted. This is due to the fact
that all operations which alter the arrangement and content of terminal nodes
(for instance, merger, fusion, feature copy, and morphosyntactic readjustment) are
taken to apply before Vocabulary insertion. This constraint will play an important
role in the discussion of gender accommodation in Section5.1.3.
5.1.2.2 The identical gender effect
The data presented in the previous section show that gender features must be available before Vocabulary insertion takes place in order to facilitate insertion of the
appropriate Vocabulary items. Besides that, there is another good reason for assuming that gender features must be specified within the computationalsystem.
If gender was not specified, then one would predict that in noun substitutions,
the gender of the intruding noun should not have any influence on the probability
of its insertion. However, researchers studying noun substitution errors in languages
with grammatical gender systems have reported that there is a strong tendency for
the intended and the intruding noun to be of the same grammatical gender. This phenomenon is called the identical gender effect. Berg (1992) reports that in his corpus
of German slips of the tongue, the involved nouns are of identical gender in 118 out
of 175 non-contextual noun substitutions, that is, in 67.4% of the cases (30 meaningbased errors, 79 form-based errors, and 9 situation-based errors). The identical
gender effect is also observed by Marx (1999). In her collection of German errors,
206 out of 260 noun substitutions (79.2%) obey the identical gender constraint (135
meaning-based errors and 71 form-based errors). An even stronger identical gender
effect has been reported for Spanish noun substitutions by Vigliocco et al. (1999).
. Note that the Vocabulary item for the indefinite article need not be specified for number.
Also, in (3), (4), and below, I give gender features as unary features. Alternatively, one may conceive of gender values as a combination of binary features: masculine would then be specified
as [+m;f], feminine as [m; +f], and neuter as [m;f].

Grammar as Processor

They note that in a corpus of Spanish speech errors (collected by Del Viso, Igoa, and
Garcia-Albea), 171 out of 180 noun substitutions, that is, 95% obey the identical gender constraint (see Arnaud (1999) for French nounsubstitutions).
In order to further evaluate the identical gender effect, I checked all noun
substitutions from the Frankfurt corpus with respect to gender features. At the
time of checking, that corpus contained 728 slips that were classified as noun substitutions. It turned out, however, that for a fair number of these substitutions,
the analysis was not unambiguous; some of them might, for instance, as well have
been analyzed as phonological errors or phrasal blends. All of these ambiguous
cases, as well as a few errors involving proper names, were crossed out from the
list. Following that procedure, 554 noun substitutionsremained.
In order to get a non-biased picture, further errors had to be removed from
the list. First of all, all errors involving plural nouns were put onto a separate list.
This decision was motivated by the fact that in the plural, irrespective of gender, all
nouns appear with the same determiner, namely die in the nominative and accusative, der in the genitive, and den in the dative (see Table (1)). Consequently, it
cannot be decided whether the language processor treats an inherently masculine
noun as such even when it combines with a plural feature. Rather, it is quite possible that plural nouns are not specified for gender at all. For that reason, the two
meaning-based noun substitutions in (5), both of which involve nouns of different
gender, were not included in the count. In (5a), the plural masculine noun Monate
(months) is substituted for the plural feminine noun Wochen (weeks). The error
in (5b) is different in that a plural feminine noun (Augen (eyes)) interacts with
a singular masculine noun (Magen (stomach)). Still, if one assumes that plural
nouns are not specified for gender, this error, too, is not informative when it comes
to testing the identical gender effect (note that I will come back to noun substitutions involving plural nouns in the nextsection).5
(5) a. er hatte schon fnf Monat-e
Urlaub, nee, fnf Woche-n

he had already five month(m)-pl vacation, no, five week(f)-pl

Healreadyhadfivemonthsvacation,no,fiveweeks.
b. aus
dem
Magen,
aus
dem
Sinn

out.of the.m.dat stomach(m), out.of the.m.dat mind(m)


aus
den
Auge-n
out.of the.pl.n.dat eye(n)-pl

Outofsight,outofmind.

. Both errors in (5) involve accommodation. In (5a), the intruding noun Monat is spelled
out with the appropriate plural allomorph; in (5b), the definite determiner accommodates to
the masculine gender feature of Magen.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

Secondly, noun substitutions involving compounds were not taken into consideration whenever it could not be decided whether the whole compound was substituted for or only its first part, that is, the modifying element. Clearly, if it was
the whole compound that was replaced in the error, then the gender of target and
intruding noun would necessarily be identical since the gender of a compound
is always determined by the gender specification of its head. The examples in (6)
illustrate the procedure. Since Dosenmilch (canned milk) is an existing German
compound, it is quite likely that in (6a), the whole compound Sonnenmilch (suntan lotion) was substituted for and not just its non-head part Sonne (sun) (note
that Dose (can) as well as Sonne arefeminine).
(6) a. Dosen-milch Sonnen-milch

can(f)-milk(f) sun(f)-milk(f)

cannedmilk
suntanlotion
b. Material-wasser,
h, Mineral-wasser

material(n)-water(n), er, mineral(n)-water(n)

However, the same line of reasoning cannot be applied to the substitution in


(6b). In contrast to (6a), the compound resulting from the error, Materialwasser
(material water), does not exist. Therefore, we have to assume that Material
(material) takes the slot of the first element Mineral (mineral) of the target
compound and that it does so because of phonological similarity (Mineral as
well as Material are neuter). Consequently, the former type of error was not
taken into consideration in evaluating the identical gender effect but the latter
typewas.
The same line of reasoning can be applied to a third group of slips, namely
those involving derived nouns. As has been pointed out in Section 5.1.1, derivational suffixes determine the gender of the derived noun. All nouns ending in
-ion, for instance, are of feminine gender (7a), while nouns carrying the suffix
-ismus are always masculine (7b). In other words, substitutions involving derived
nouns necessarily obey the identical gender constraint and should therefore be
removed from the list ofsubstitutions.6

. Berg (1992) did not exclude derived nouns from his count. In his corpus, he observes an
unusually high rate of form-based errors in which both interactants are of feminine gender
(49 instances in contrast to only 8 instances of meaning-based F F substitutions). He states
that, while many rules of gender assignment based on the formal characteristics of nouns are
of a probabilistic nature, some extremely frequent derivational suffixes, like, for instance, -ion
and -ung, assign feminine gender to the derived noun. According to Berg, this fact may help to
explain the high rate of form-based F F substitutions.

Grammar as Processor

(7) a.

ich gehe zur


Rezens-ion
Rezeption
I go to.the.f review-nmlz(f) reception.nmlz(f)
Iamgoingtothereception.

b. das ist ein Drf-chen, ber das der Terror-ismus manchmal



this is a village-dim upon which the.m terror-nmlz(m) sometimes

hereinbricht der
Tour-ismus
descends
the.m tour-nmlz(m)

Thisisasmallvillageuponwhichtourismdescendssometimes.

Closer inspection of the 554 unambiguous noun substitutions from the Frankfurt
corpus revealed that 114 of them involve a target and/or intruding noun that is
specified for plural, 35 involve ambiguous compounds, and 54 involve derived
nouns. Consequently, 203 noun substitutions were removed from the list. The
351 errors which remained after applying that procedure show the following distribution with respect to the interaction of genderfeatures.

(8) Grammatical gender in singular-noun substitutions (n =351)


noun substitutions (singular)
Form-based

Total

gender

Semantic

ff
mm
nn

45
48
29

52
48
38

97
96
67

fm
fn
mn

17
14
18

15
10
17

32
24
35

171

180

351

Total

The numbers in (8) clearly indicate that the identical gender effect is also observed
in the noun substitutions in the Frankfurt corpus. For 260 out of 351 noun substitutions (the first three rows in (8)), that is, for 74.1% of the total number, it is true
that the intended noun and the intruding noun are specified for the same gender
feature. This percentage lies between the one reported by Berg (1992) for his corpus
(67.4%) and the one given by Marx (1999) for her collection of slips (79.2%). Interestingly, while Berg reports a higher percentage of form-based and Marx a higher
percentage of meaning-based substitutions within the set of identical gender errors,
in the Frankfurt corpus, the difference between meaning- and form-based errors is
quite small:122 out of 171 meaning-based substitutions (71.3%) and 138 out of 180
form-based substitutions (76.6%) show the identical gender effect. For the sake of
illustration, in (9), I give two examples each of noun substitutions in which nouns
of identical gender interact and of noun substitutions in which target and intruding
noun have different genderspecifications.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

The identical gender effect is observed in (9a) and (9b). All three nouns participating in the meaning-based substitution in (9a) a conduite dapproche
are of neuter gender, while in the form-based error in (9b), both target noun and
intruder are specified for [masculine]. In contrast, the slips in (9c) and (9d) do
not obey the identical gender constraint. In (9c), the semantically related nouns
Hunger (hunger) and Klte (cold) are masculine and feminine, respectively,
while in the form-based slip in (9d), the intruder Pech (bad luck) is neuter and
the target Pest (pestilence) isfeminine.
(9) a. das Brett,
h, das Tablett, h, das Blech
ist

the.n board(n), er, the.n tray(n), er, the.n baking.tray(n) is

sowieso voll
anyway full

Theboard,er,thetray,er,thebakingtrayisfullanyway.

b. ich bin froh, dass ich kein-en Spinat


kann kein-en Spagat

I am happy that I no-m spinach(m) can no-m splits(m)

ImhappyIcantdothesplits.
c. ich erfrier
fast
vor Hunger
vor Klte

I freeze.to.death almost of hunger(m) of cold(f)

Imalmostfreeezingtodeath(becauseofthecold).
d. die Wahl
zwischen Pech
und Cholera

the.f choice(f) between bad.luck(n) and cholera(f)

Pest
und Cholera
pestilence(f) and cholera(f)

thechoicebetweenpestilenceandcholera

What does the above distribution of noun substitutions tell us about the specification of the gender feature? Obviously, the identical gender effect is observed
in meaning-based and form-based noun substitutions. As far as the former are
concerned, this implies that the roots contained in List 1 must be specified for
gender because semantic substitutions occur when roots are selected from List 1
(based on their activation from the conceptual level, as argued in Section 4.2.1).
Otherwise, the identical gender effect in semantic substitutions (9a) could not be
accounted for.7 As mentioned before, gender features associated with roots enter the

. Further evidence for the early availability of gender features comes from the tip-of-the-tongue
(TOT) phenomenon (see Section 4.3.1 for TOT-evidence concerning the compositional
semantic feature [count]). As has been demonstrated in various studies, speakers in a TOT
state can provide correct information about the gender of a noun the phonological form of
which they are unable to access (Caramazza & Miozzo 1997; Miozzo & Caramazza 1997;
Vigliocco, Antonini & Garrett 1997; Lopez Cutrin & Vigliocco 2007). There is, however, an

Grammar as Processor

computational system since they are a necessary prerequisite for establishing agreement relations by means of feature copy.8 The same line of reasoning excludes the
second option for underspecification, that is, underspecification of Vocabulary
items with respect to the gender feature.9 Form-based substitutions occur when
Vocabulary items are drawn from List 2 for insertion. The fact that List 2 is organized according to phonological principles may give rise to the occasional misselection of an item that is phonologically similar to the target. The numbers in
Table (8) indicate that Vocabulary items cannot be underspecified with respect to
gender. Otherwise, the insertion of (phonologically related) Vocabulary items into
ongoing controversy on whether wordform access occurs only upon successful gender retrieval
or not (cf. Caramazza & Miozzo 1997; Roelofs et al. 1998; Caramazza & Miozzo 1998).
. Results from naming experiments conducted by Vigliocco, Vinson, Indefrey, Levelt &
Hellwig (2004) indicate that the identical gender effect (gender preservation) in spontaneous
errors is related to the production of gender-marked phrases. Crucially, the identical gender
effect was much weaker when participants were asked to produce bare noun (in naming pictures of animals and body parts under time pressure) than when naming involved the production of a definite determiner plus noun phrase. In the former condition, 106 out of 229 errors
showed an identical gender effect (46.3%); in the latter condition, gender preservation was
observed in 183 out of 225 errors (81.3%).
. Lumsden (1992) claims that this kind of underspecification is found in, for example,
Romanian, which also has a three-way distinction of gender. With the help of his underspecification analysis, Lumsden accounts for certain gender disagreement facts in Romanian.
In Romanian, adjectives agree in number and gender with the nouns they modify and
demonstrative pronouns agree in number and gender with their antecedent. In case a demonstrative pronoun refers to an event, it appears in its feminine form, see (i). However, when a
demonstrative pronoun referring to an event appears in a construction with a predicate adjective, the pronoun behaves as if it had a feminine antecedent, whereas the adjective behaves
as if it had a masculine or neuter antecedent. In other words, although a subject DP usually
agrees in gender with a predicative adjective, in (ii) this is not the case (Farkas 1990; cited in
Lumsden 1992:474f).

(i) Petru e acasa, dar asta


nu o stie
dect Maria
Peter is home but this.sg.f not cl knows only Maria
Peter is home, but this is known only to Mary.
(ii) Petru e acasa. Asta
e uluitor
Peter is home. This.sg.f is amazing.sg.m/n
Peter is home. This is amazing.
According to Lumsden, this instance of gender disagreement is due to the fact that the inserted elements are underspecified with respect to certain gender features. Just like Halle &
Marantz (1993), he points out that [t]he morphological signal is always nondistinct from the
specification of the underlying position, but it does not always express every distinction that
is specified in that position (Lumsden 1992:473).

Morphosyntactic features in language production

gender-marked terminal nodes could in principle proceed at random, since no


choice of Vocabulary item would ever result in a feature mismatch (remember that
Vocabulary items may be underspecified for the morphosyntactic feature complexes
that they realize). Therefore, no identical gender effect should be observed in formbased substitutions contrary to what we find in the data; see, for instance,(9b).
In other words: a terminal node that contains a specific root and the feature
[f] should either be taken by the Vocabulary item matching that root (and, therefore, its gender feature) or, in case of mis-selection, by a phonologically related
Vocabulary item that is also specified for [f]. Obviously, this line of reasoning,
leaves us with the question of how to account for cases like (9d), in which the
target noun and the phonologically related intruding noun have different gender
specifications. In such errors, there is a feature mismatch between the Vocabulary
item and the terminal node in which it is inserted an unexpected situation. For
such cases, we have to assume that two forces are at play, the identical gender constraint and the activation level, and that occasionally, a phonological competitor
reaches an activation level that wins over theconstraint.
In the previous discussion, I have only considered the full specification or underspecification of gender features. Here, I shall not investigate the different possibilities
of single feature value underspecification in detail.10 Just a few comments are in place:
whatever feature value (if any) happens to be the unspecified one, a Vocabulary item
which lacks that value should be more likely to be inserted into a fully specified slot,
since no feature clash is caused by its insertion. For instance, if neuter as well as masculine Vocabulary items were marked as [f] only (as assumed by Lumsden (1992)
for Romanian), then both could be freely inserted into slots marked by the feature
[f], no matter whether the respective slot also contains the feature [+n] or [n].
Such conclusions, however, cannot be drawn on the basis of the distribution of (singular) noun substitutions given in Table (8) above. The number of masculine-neuter
interactions (n = 35) may be slightly higher than that of, for instance, femininemasculine interactions (n = 32) but the total number of mixed gender substitutions is
too small to allow for safe conclusions.11 I will therefore leave this questionopen.

. Lumsden (1992), for instance, does not assume full underspecification of positions and
morphological signals. He claims that positions (i.e., terminal nodes) become fully specified
with respect to the binary features [f] and [n] by means of redundancy rules. The morphological signals (i.e., the Vocabulary items), however, are underspecified with respect to certain
feature values. For example, the masculine and neuter singular are specified as [f] only, while
the feminine singular is completely unspecified.
. This bias towards neuter/masculine interactions is also observed in Bergs (1992)
corpus. In Marxs (1999) error sample, however, feminine/masculine interactions make up
the highest percentage.

Grammar as Processor

5.1.2.3 Against gender impoverishment


I will now come back to substitutions involving plural nouns. Above, I left these
errors out of consideration, since in German, plural forms do not trigger gender
agreement on accompanying determiners, adjectives, and pronouns. In the nominative, for instance, the only plural determiner is the one also used for feminine singular nouns (die). Consequently, it is quite possible that plural nouns are not specified
for gender at all and that the specification [+pl] alone is sufficient for selecting and
inserting the appropriatedeterminer.
Within the DM framework, however, underspecification of plural nouns is
not easily accounted for. Presumably, when a noun root is selected from List 1, it
brings along a certain gender feature which is an inherent feature of that root. This
means that gender information becomes available only by means of the root itself,
a fact that makes it unnecessary to find a correlate for gender at the conceptual
level. The same line of reasoning, however, cannot be applied to the plural feature,
which has no inherent relation to the noun root, its presence being determined by
the speakers intention only. In other words: there is no such thing as a plural root;
rather, the plural feature is drawn separately from List 1. Therefore, a particular
noun root is either always or never specified for gender. In the previous section,
I have argued that the former is true. Consequently, in DM, the only possibility to
account for gender underspecification on plural nouns is to postulate an impoverishment rule like the one given in (10), which deletes the gender feature in the
context of [+pl] prior to Vocabularyinsertion.
(10) [genderfeature] / [+pl]

If such an impoverishment rule was in fact active at MS, then we would predict that the identical gender effect is not observed in form-based noun substitutions involving plural nouns. Due to gender impoverishment at MS, the
gender feature would no longer be present at the point of Vocabulary insertion and should therefore not have any influence on the selection of Vocabulary items that spell out plural nouns. A first look at Table (11) might lead us
to conclude that this prediction is borne out. Adding up the numbers in the
first three rows of the table, we see that there are 43 semantic same gender substitutions but only 31 form-based same gender substitutions. We must take
into account, however, that the total number of phonological substitutions
involving plural nouns is also much smaller and this fact cannot be related
to the availability or non-availablility of the gender feature (note that in singular noun substitutions, the form-based substitutions had a somewhat higher
share than the meaning based ones; see Table (8)). When calculating percentages, it turns out that 88.6% of the form-based plural noun substitutions
(31 out of 35) but only 60.6% of the semantic plural noun substitutions (43 out

Morphosyntactic features in language production

of 71) obey the identical gender effect. That is, contrary to the above prediction,
phonologically related nouns that interact in a substitution are more likely to
share the same gender feature than semantically related nouns. In view of this
distribution, it seems highly unlikely that an impoverishment rule like the one in
(10) alters the featural content of terminal nodes at MS inGerman.
(11) Grammatical gender in plural-noun substitutions (n =106)
noun substitutions (plural)
gender

Semantic

Form-based

Total

ff
mm
nn

21
16
6

14
12
5

35
28
11

fm
fn
mn

10
9
9

2
2
0

12
11
9

Total

71

35

106

On the basis of the above noun substitution data, I conclude that German nouns
are specified for their gender feature throughout. That is, the roots drawn from
List 1 as well as the Vocabulary items drawn from List 2 are linked to a gender feature and two roots or Vocabulary items that are linked to the same gender feature
are more likely to interact in form- and meaning-based substitutions. Since this
observation also holds for plural nouns, we cannot assume that an impoverishment rule deletes gender features in the context of a plural feature. In the next
section, I will have a closer look at what predictions the DM-model makes concerning genderaccommodation.
5.1.3 The limits of gender accommodation
The fact that not only meaning-based but also form-based noun substitutions show
an identical gender effect is somewhat problematic for language production models
which postulate a strict division between the lemma (functional) level and the word
form (positional) level (for instance, Garrett 1975, 1980a, 1990; Levelt 1989; Levelt
et al. 1999). Remember that in these models, it is assumed that only lemma nodes
connect to a words syntactic and morphosyntactic properties, including gender,
and that the flow of activation from lemma to phonological form is unidirectional.
Therefore, once the processing of a sentence has reached the word form level, information about (morpho)syntactic features of a word should be no longeravailable.
On the other hand, production models which allow for feedback between
processing levels (for instance, Dell & Reich 1981; Dell 1986; Berg 1988; Dell &

Grammar as Processor

OSeaghdha 1992) can account for the identical gender effect in form-based
substitutions in a straightforward way, since in these models it is assumed that
morphosyntactic information is still available at the word form level. Berg
(1992), for instance, claims that formal similarity need not stop short of phonological criteria but might also encompass morphosyntactic criteria. However,
Marx (1999), who argues for a modular two-step retrieval model, points out that
these models, too, are capable of explaining the characteristics of form-based
noun substitutions. In line with Berg, she claims that gender also constitutes a
formal property of nouns in German and that one may therefore assume that
nouns of the same gender are lexical neighbors not only at the lemma level but
also at the lexeme level. Still, she stresses that at the latter level, gender is just an
organizational criterion; it is neither activated nor processed at thatlevel.
DM assumptions allow for a similar line of reasoning. In that theory, Vocabulary
items (that is, word forms) are selected from the Vocabulary along with certain morphosyntactic features. Since these features are checked against the featural content of
terminal nodes, they are essential for selecting the appropriate Vocabulary item for
a given node. As mentioned before, a Vocabulary item may be underspecified with
respect to the features contained in a terminal node but it may not clash with one
of these features. Therefore, in DM, it is quite natural to assume that gender has an
influence not only on semantic substitutions but also on form-basedsubstitutions.
Still, there is one important difference between meaning- and form-based noun
substitutions. This difference concerns the establishment of agreement relations in
the course of language production. As argued above, semantic substitutions take
place when roots are selected from List 1, that is, before the level of MS. In contrast,
form-based substitutions occur when Vocabulary items are inserted into terminal
nodes, that is, after the level of MS. According to DM assumptions, both the implementation of agreement nodes and agreement feature copy take place at MS. Based
on these derivational characteristics, we can make an interesting prediction: determiners (as well as other material within DP and co-referential pronouns) should
only be able to accommodate to the gender of the erroneous noun after meaningbased noun substitutions. In contrast, following form-based substitutions, accommodation should not be observed, since at this point of the derivation, agreement
feature copy has already been executed. An erroneous form-related noun may be
selected for insertion but it cannot pass on its gender feature to otherelements.
From Table (8) above, we can infer that there are 49 meaning-based and 42
form-based singular noun substitutions in the Frankfurt corpus in which target
and intruding noun do not share the same gender feature, that is, 91 instances in
which accommodation could in principle be observed. However, a fair number
of these substitution errors is not informative in the present context for one of
the following three reasons: there is no gender cue in the environment, there is

Morphosyntactic features in language production

an ambiguous gender cue in the environment, or the error occurs within a compound. The slips in (12) illustrate these threephenomena.
The meaning-based substitution in (12a) as well as the form-based substitution in (12b) involve bare nouns. That is, within DP, there are no agreeing elements
whatsoever and consequently, the gender features from the intruding nouns Wunder (miracle) and Erotik (eroticism), respectively, need not be copied (note that
the same is true for the errors in (9c) and (9d)above).
(12) a.

sie ist nicht ohne


Wunder bekannter
ohne
Zufall
she is not without miracle(n) more.known without chance(m)
Itisnotwithoutcoincidencethatsheismorewell-known.

b. berall
gibts Erotik
Aerobic

everywhere giveit eroticism(f) aerobic(n)

Thereareaerobicclasseseverywhere.
c. aufgrund von Verzgerungen der
Stadt-planung

because of delays
the.f.gen city(f)-planning(f)

der
Satz-planung
the.f.gen sentence(m)-planning(f)

becauseofdelaysinsentenceplanning

d. eher
geht ein
Kanal,
h, ein
Kamel

more.likely goes a.m.nom canal(m), er, a.n.nom camel(n)

durchs
Nadelhr
through.the eye.of.a.needle

Itismorelikelyforacameltogothroughtheeyeofaneedle.

In (12c), a compound is involved in the error. Even if we assume that only the
specifier of the compound is affected by the substitution (see the discussion of the
compound errors in (6)), that is, that Satz (sentence) has been substituted for by
the form-related noun Stadt (city), it is clear that there is no need to accommodate the genitive determiner since the gender-determining head of the compound,
Planung (planning), is the same. In German, the indefinite determiners for masculine and neuter nouns happen to be the same in the nominative, genitive, and
dative case. Consequently, in (12d), where the masculine noun Kanal (canal) takes
the place of the neuter noun Kamel (camel) in a slot that is assigned nominative
case, we cannot decide whether feature copy from the intruder onto the indefinite
determiner has in fact taken place. Given that this substitution is phonological in
nature, I assume that feature copy cannot have taken place and that the fact that a
grammatical utterance surfaces is acoincidence.
Once we remove the non-informative errors from the set of 91 noun substitution errors in which nouns of different gender interact, we are left with only 34

Grammar as Processor

noun substitutions that unambiguously involve the accommodation or nonaccommodation of the syntactic context. These 34 slips from the Frankfurt corpus
are included in my corpus. The addition of two further errors that fulfill these
criteria but are not included in the Frankfurt corpus yields a total of 36 noun
substitutions. Still, the picture that emerges from the comparison of form- and
meaning-based substitutions is pretty clear, as shown in Table(13).
(13) Distribution of (non-)accommodation after noun substitutions (n =36)
accommodation?
noun substitution

Yes

No

meaning-based
form-based

21
2

1
12

It turns out that for meaning-based substitutions, there is a strong tendency to


be followed by accommodation of the environment to the gender feature of the
intruding noun. An example for this phenomenon has already been given in
(2c). Similarly, in (14a), the definite determiner accommodates to the feminine
gender of the intruding noun Tr (door). The only example in which a semantic
substitution is not followed by a gender accommodation is given in (14b). In this
slip, Schwester (sister) takes the slot of the semantically related noun Bruder
(brother), yet the determiner does not accommodate to the intruding noun.
Obviously, the resulting gender mismatch is not easily accounted for. Since the
error is assumed to take place before gender features are copied, it is unclear
where the masculine feature on the determiner is coming from. One might
hypothesize that this error is actually not a semantic substitution but rather the
result of ablend.12

. I am not implying that the error is the result of a DP-blend, that is, a blend of the DPs der
Bruder (the brother) and die Schwester (the sister). From a semantic point of view, it seems
highly unlikely that these two DPs are in competition with each other. What I am implying
is that two more complex constructions might have been competing with each other, as illustrated in (i).

(i)

dass er der Schwester, h, der Bruder


von der
N.
ist
that he the.m sister(f), er, the.m brother(m) of the.f.dat N.(f) is

dass er der Bruder


von der
N.
ist //
that he the.m brother(m) of the.f.dat N.(f) is //

dass die
N.
sein-e Schwester ist
that the.f.dat N.(f) his-f sister(f) is

that hes the brother of N.//that N.is his sister

Morphosyntactic features in language production

(14) a.

du
muss-t
die Tr
dann festhalt-en,
you(sg) must-2.sg the.f door(f) then hold-inf,

Quatsch, das Fenster


rubbish, the.n window(n)

Youllhavetoholdthewindowthen.

b. dann hat sich rausgestell-t, dass er der


Schwester, h,

then has refl turn.out-part that he the.m sister(f), er,

der
Bruder
von der
N.
ist
the.m brother(m) of the.f.dat N.(f) is

ThenithasturnedoutthathesthebrotherofN.

Form-based substitutions show the reverse pattern. As mentioned before, gender accommodation is not expected following a form-based substitution because
these errors take place after gender features have been copied. In fact, 12 out of 14
phonological substitutions result in a gender feature mismatch. A representative
example is given in (15a). In this error, the neuter noun Chaos (chaos), which takes
the slot of the masculine noun Kasus (case), is accompanied by the masculine
definite determiner. The error in (15b) is one of the two clear instances in which
a form-based substitution triggers accommodation. Clearly, it is hard to think
of a possible semantic relationship between Kalender (calendar) and Gelnder
(railing).13 This error is peculiar in the sense that it cannot be accounted for in a
straightforward way. With respect to the DM-model, one solution that comes to
mind is to allow feedback from spell-out to MS. But once we allow feedback, that
is, feature copy after Vocabulary insertion, it becomes entirely unclear why not
more or all of the phonological substitutions are subject toaccommodation.
(15) a. das ist immer der
gleiche Chaos,
h, Kasus

that is always the.m same
chaos(n), er, case(m)

Thatsalwaysthesamechaos,er,case.
b. wo
sie ber den Kalender
guckt ber das Gelnder

where she over the.m calendar(m) looks over the.n railing(n)

whereshelooksovertherailing

. Moreover, the Frankurt corpus contains the unclear case in (i). Note that in Standard
German, the intruder Kompost (compost) is masculine, while the form-related target noun
Kompott (compote) is neuter, as indicated in (i).

(i)

gekocht-er Kompost
gekocht-es
cooked-m compost(m) cooked-n
cooked compote

Kompott
compote(n)

In some German dialects, however, Kompott is of masculine gender. Since it is unclear whether
the speaker used the Standard German or the dialect variant, it cannot be decided whether we
are in fact dealing with a gender accommodation following a form-based substitution.

Grammar as Processor

Still, the general picture confirms the prediction made above: only meaning-based
substitutions are capable of triggering accommodatory processes because only these
substitutions occur before the level of Morphological Structure, that is, at a stage of
the derivation at which agreement relations have not yet been established. At the
point of Vocabulary insertion, all feature copy operations have been executed. Consequently, form-based substitutions cannot be followed by accommodation, since
feature copy is a necessary prerequisite for accommodation to takeplace.14
Note finally that within the DM framework, one cannot assume that whole
DPs are replaced in an error. If, for instance, we analyzed example (14a) as a DPsubstitution that is, the DP das Fenster (the window) was substituted for by the
DP die Tr (the door) then accommodation would be unnecessary. In DM,
however, this kind of replacement is not an option. Remember that Vocabulary
insertion targets terminal nodes. Obviously, there is neither a terminal node nor
a Vocabulary item with the relevant features corresponding to a constituent like,
for instance, [DP die Tr]. Still, there are some very few exceptions, all of which,
however, involve idiomatic expressions. Consider, for instance, the examples given
in (16). In (16a), rote Bete (beetroot), the name of a vegetable (Bete alone is not
attested), is substituted for grne Soe (green sauce), the name of a typical dish
from the Frankfurt area.15 Therefore, we may safely assume that the internal structure of both these DPs is not computed in on-line languageproduction.
(16) a. rote Bete grne Soe

red beet green sauce

greensauce
b. inouracademicivyleague

academicivorytower

I assume that the same is true for the English slip in (16b), in which the DP ivy
league is substituted for ivory tower (Fromkin 1973b:262). Again, both DPs are fixed
constructions. Therefore, the slips in (16) do not constitute counterevidence to the
generalization that only words but not phrases are subject to substitutionerrors.16
. The same observation is made by Marx (1999). The data from her corpus show that
both types of substitutions behave unambiguously complementarily: whereas accommodation never occurs in the case of form-related noun substitutions, it always takes place after
meaning-related noun substitutions (with one single exception).
. The greenish color of this delicious dish comes from several herbs (borage, cress, parsley,
sorrel, chives, and chervil) which are combined with egg yolks, oil, sour cream, and possibly
mayonnaise (see Scherenberg & Stier 1990:18). Interestingly, there are two slips in the corpus
involving the replacement of Grne Soe. But after all, its the Frankfurt corpus, isnt it?
. Remember, however, that DPs and other phrasal constituents can be exchanged, anticipated, and perseverated; see, for instance, example (14a) in Chapter 2.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

5.1.4 Summary
I have started my investigation of the processing of morphosyntactic features in
language production by looking at the gender feature. Based on specific properties of noun substitution errors (the identical gender effect), I have argued that in
German, the gender feature must be specified throughout the derivation. That is,
roots are linked to a gender feature in List 1 and they bring along that gender feature when they are merged into a syntactic structure. At MS, the gender feature will
be copied onto other material within DP as well as onto co-referential pronominal
elements. In addition, the Vocabulary items contained in List 2 are also linked to
a gender feature. At the point of Vocabulary insertion, the feature associated with
the Vocabulary item must match the feature contained in the terminalnode.
Furthermore, the analysis of accommodation patterns shows that only semantic
but not formal substitutions are subject to gender accommodation. In other words,
the few form-based substitutions that do not obey the identical gender effect give
rise to a feature mismatch within DP. This is the expected pattern given that gender
agreement is assumed to be instantiated before Vocabulary insertion takes place
(see Albright (2007) for further discussion of the treatment of gender inDM).
In the following sections, I will discuss the manipulation of other morphosyntactic features such as person, number, and tense. However, the gender feature
will also make another appearance, namely in Section 5.2.5, where I consider local
gender agreement errors on pronouns and in Section 5.4.4, where I discuss possible instances of gender shift and genderstranding.

5.2 Defective feature copy I: Local agreement


In this and the following section, I will present and analyze spontaneous speech
errors that involve erroneous (defective) feature copy, that is, errors in which a
wrong DP is chosen as the agreement controller. The type of feature mismatch
resulting from these errors is different from the DP-internal mismatch discussed
in the previous section. In the form-based noun substitution in (15a), for instance,
the mismatch is caused by the fact that feature copy does not take place after the
error has occurred. In contrast, in the slips to be discussed in this and the next section, it is the feature copy process itself that causes the mismatch. An agreement
target a verb or a pronoun which must be specified for some morphosyntactic
feature receives that feature from a wrongcontroller.
In the present context, it is particularly interesting to investigate the structural
position of the agreement controller with respect to the target. The first option is
that the erroneous controller is linearly closer to the target than the correct controller; this option, which I refer to as local agreement, is the topic of the present

Grammar as Processor

section. Secondly, it is possible that the error source is more distant to the target
than the correct controller; this option, termed long-distance agreement, will
only be subject to discussion in Section5.3.
Feature copy processes such as number/person marking on verbs and gender/
number marking on pronouns are an essential part of encoding grammatical relations in sentences. They are used to signal that linguistic constituents which are
specified for the same feature(s) are linked regardless of whether they appear adjacent in the utterance or in some distance from each other. Bock, Nicol & Cutting
(1999:330) illustrate the importance of such marking by the different interpretations of the minimally different sentences in(17).
(17) a. Descriptionsofthemassacrethatwerediscoveredyesterday
b. Descriptionsofthemassacrethatwasdiscoveredyesterday

Obviously, the two sentences mean different things: while example (17a) is concerned with the discovery of descriptions, example (17b) describes the discovery
of a massacre. This contrast in interpretation is due to the distinct number specification of the verb in the relative clause (see Section 5.2.5 for discussion of feature
mismatch in relativeclauses).
In Section 3.2.2, we have already seen that feature copy operations play a
prominent role in the Distributed Morphology framework; these copy operations
take place at MS.17 However, there is an important difference to other generative
theories. In some accounts, subject-verb agreement is taken to involve featuretransmission from a noun onto Agr and subsequent movement of the verb to Agr
(Chomsky 1981; Baker 1985; Pollock 1989). In other, more recent accounts, agreement is seen as the result of a checking operation. The verb is inserted fully inflected
and its agreement features must at some point in the derivation be checked against
features of a DP under Spec-head agreement (Chomsky 1995, 2000, 2001). In contrast, in DM, at least in Halle & Marantz (1993) original proposal, verbs are not
drawn from List 1 in their inflected form. Moreover, verb movement to Agr is
impossible in DM, since agreement nodes are not assumed to be present in the
syntax. Remember that Halle & Marantz suggest that agreement nodes are only
inserted at MS; AgrS, for example, being implemented as sister of the Tns node.
Just like gender features (see (3) above), relevant features of a subject DP must
be copied onto this newly inserted node before Vocabulary insertion takes place
. Some psycholinguistic models also endorse feature copy. In Kempen & Hoenkamps
(1987) computational model of language production, for instance, agreement is assumed to
involve a feature copy mechanism whereby the features of one constituent in a syntactic tree
are copied onto another constituent. In the case of subject-verb agreement, the features person
and number are copied from the subject DP onto the verb.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

in order to facilitate insertion of the appropriate Vocabulary items, in particular,


agreementsuffixes.
For illustration, consider the simplified structure in (18b) which represents
a part of the German embedded clause in (18a) assuming that subjects occupy
SpecTnsP and that TnsP is right-headed in German. In this and the following
structures, I avoid using labels like NP and VP. Remember that according to
DM, there are only acategorial lexical nodes (L) and projections (LP) present in
the syntax and that the categorial status of these nodes is defined by their functional (licensing) environment. I will come back to this proposal in Section6.4.
(18) a. (weil)
die
Kind-er lach-te-n

(because) the.pl child-pl laugh-past-pl

(because)thechildrenlaughed
b.
TnsP
Tns

DP
D

LP

LP

[+]
[+]

[] [+]

tL

Tns
L

feature copy

Tns
Tns

AgrS

[+]

[+]

In the syntax, the verb (or rather lach) moves and adjoins to Tns. At MS, AgrS
is inserted as sister of the Tns node and the relevant features of the subject DP are
subsequently copied onto AgrS. In this case, the only relevant feature is the number
feature since, except for the 2nd person, German plural DPs are not specified for
person. Note that the plural feature is also copied onto the determinerposition.
As far as defective feature copy is concerned, the main focus in this section
will be on defective subject-verb agreement (henceforth: SVA). SVA is the classical
case of a syntactic dependency where information which influences the surface
form of a certain element in a sentence may be separate from this element. In
particular, a phrase, a clause, or even more material may intervene between the
subject DP and the verb.18 In such contexts, SVA-errors like the one in (19) are
. Here, intervene should be understood as linear intervention. The structural relation
between the subject DP and the verb usually seen as a relation of Spec-head agreement is,
of course, always the same, no matter how much phrasal material intervenes.

Grammar as Processor

most likely to occur (Bock & Miller (1991:46); complex subject DP in brackets; in
the English examples, non-agreeing elements are given initalics).
(19) [thereadinessofourconventionalforces]areatanall-timelow
thereadinessisatanall-timelow

In this utterance, the nominal head of the complex subject DP (readiness) is


singular, the verb, however, appears in its plural form and thus agrees with
the directly preverbal DP our conventional forces, which is part of a prepositional phrase modifying the nominal head of the subject DP.19 In other words:
the verb agrees with a more local, that is, linearly closer, DP. Errors like the
one in (19) lead Otto Jespersen in his Philosophy of grammar to formulate the
hypothesis that if the verb comes long after its subject, there is no more mental
energy left to remember what was the number of the subject (Jespersen 1924;
cited from Bock & Cutting 1992: 99). In more recent studies, the phenomenon resulting from these structural facts has been referred to as attraction or
proximityconcord.
Only few spontaneous SVA-errors of the type in (19) have been reported in
the psycholinguistic literature. However, defective feature copy has been investigated extensively in experimental studies. Before describing the characteristics
of SVA-errors from my corpus, I will therefore first sketch the results of these
experimental studies in Section 5.2.1. In Section 5.2.2, I am going to compare the
elicited English data to the spontaneous errors from my corpus. The comparison will reveal that we do not only observe interesting similarities between the
two data sets but also significant differences, above all concerning the nature of
the erroneous agreement controller. In a model that postulates movement operations, a DP which is distant from the verb (or the agreement node) at surface
structure may well be local to it at deep structure. Therefore, in Section 5.2.3,
I will consider whether and how syntactic transformations interact with processes of feature copy. Subsequently, in Section 5.2.4, I will discuss recent studies
that offer an analysis of local SVA-errors within the Minimalist Program. Finally,
a type of local agreement error that does not involve feature mismatch between
subject and verb will be introduced in Section 5.2.5: local agreement involving
pronouns. In these errors, too, a more local DP is chosen as agreement controller
but the agreement target is a pronoun, not averb.

. For ease of description, in the following, I will refer to elements such as readiness in (19)
as the nominal head of the subject DP, being aware of the fact that actually readiness is the
head of an NP which is sister to the highest D0 element of the subject DP.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

5.2.1 Experimental studies on proximity concord


Starting with a study conducted by Mann (1982), a series of experimental studies has been carried out regarding the nature of the agreement relation between
subject and verb. In all of these experiments, an attempt was made to elicit subjectverb agreement errors in an experimental setting (Bock & Miller 1991; Bock &
Cutting 1992; Bock & Eberhard 1993; Nicol 1995; Eberhard 1997; Bock, Eberhard,
Cutting & Schriefers 2001; Franck, Vigliocco & Nicol 2002; Haskell & MacDonald
2003). The focus in these studies was on structural differences which might have
an influence on the probability of agreement errors (for instance, the complexity
of the subject DP) as well as on semantic-conceptual properties of the NPs themselves. In this section, I will summarize the most important findings from these
studies. These will serve as basis for comparison to the spontaneous errors to be
presented in the nextsection.
The pioneering study investigating verbal agreement was carried out by Mann
(1982). In his experiment, Mann used sentences containing a subject DP which is
ambiguous with respect to number. Consequently, whatever the number specification chosen for the verb, the resulting string was never ungrammatical. However,
Mann slightly modified the syntactic environment of the verb from sentence to
sentence and asked students to insert verbs into structures like the ones in (20). He
then examined whether there was a preference for a particular verb form depending on the syntacticenvironment.
(20) a. ThesheeptestedbythescientistonSaturday___veryill.
b. ThesheeptestedbythescientistsonSaturday___veryill.

The experiment revealed that the probability of inserting a plural form into the
verb slot increased with the number of nominal plural forms preceding the verb,
even though the subject DP did not force such a decision. Consequently, insertion
of the plural form were was more likely for (20b) than for (20a) because (20b)
contains the plural noun scientists. Based on these results, Mann proposed that the
plural noun(s) preceding the verb give rise to what he calls a plural atmosphere,
which influences the selection of the correspondingverb.
Manns study is not informative regarding the question whether the capacity
of the memory (mental energy in the above quote from Jespersen) influences
the selection of a particular verb form since in his experimental setting the presentation of printed material the subject DP was continuously available (off-line
condition). However, that very question was the center of attention in the first
experiment conducted by Bock & Miller (1991). In this experiment, sentence preambles were acoustically presented to the participants. The participants were asked
to repeat and to complete the preambles all of which included a complex subject

Grammar as Processor

DP. In particular, the nominal head of the subject DP was followed by another
DP whose number specification differed from the one of the nominal head (mismatch condition). For half of the sentence beginnings, the nominal head was plural, while the local noun (that is, the noun linearly closer to the verb) was singular;
the other half showed the reverse number pattern. Moreover, a control condition
was added in which the number features of the nominal head and the local noun
were the same. The length of the modifiers following the nominal head varied.
In (21), I give some representative examples for the sentence preambles used in
this experiment. All of these examples involve a number mismatch between the
head noun (key/boy) and the noun contained in the modifying phrase (cabinet/
snake), a prepositional phrase in the first two examples, a relative clause in the latter two examples. Note that the material within brackets was included only in the
version with a more complex postnominalmodifier.
(21) a. Thekeytothe(ornateVictorian)cabinets
b. Thekeystothe(ornateVictorian)cabinet
c. Theboythatlikedthe(colorfulgarter)snakes
d. Theboysthatlikedthe(colorfulgarter)snake

First of all, the results showed that the large part of agreement errors (more than
90%) occurred in the mismatch condition. The complexity of the constituent containing the mismatching local noun, however, did not have any influence on the
error rate a fact which contradicts the assumption that the limited capacity of
the memory can be held reponsible for the errors. In addition, it turned out that
more errors were made after prepositional phrases than after relative clauses. A particularly interesting error pattern emerged when singular subjects were compared
to plural subjects in the mismatch condition: agreement errors almost exclusively
occurred in the experimental condition with a singular nominal head and a local
plural DP, that is, after sentence preambles like (21a) and (21c). This pattern clearly
indicates that the errors cannot be reduced to a problem in correctly identifying the
nominal head within the complex subject DP because if that had been the case, errors
in the condition with a local singular noun should have occurred asfrequently.20

. All of the experiments discussed in this section were concerned with the processing of
the number feature in production. Other experiments used a similar error induction technique to investigate the computation of gender agreement on predicative adjectives in French,
Italian, and Spanish (Vigliocco & Franck 1999, 2001; Vigliocco & Zilli 1999; Antn-Mndez,
Nicol & Garrett 2002). For instance, in the study by Vigliocco & Franck (1999), the participants
first saw an Italian adjective in its feminine and masculine form (for example, ross-o (red-m)
and ross-a (red-f)). Then a sentence preamble was presented which contained a masculine or
feminine head noun followed by a local noun of different gender. The participants were asked

Morphosyntactic features in language production

On the basis of further refined experiments, Nicol (1995) assumes that the
specification of a verbs number is effected while a (possibly complex) subject DP
is produced. At that time, several nouns may be simultaneously activated, namely
the nominal head of the subject DP and DPs contained in postnominal modifiers.
DPs, however, which occur in a sentence after a critical point of time cannot interfer with the number specification on the verb. In an earlier experiment, sentence
preambles like the ones in (22) were subject to investigation; in these preambles,
the distance between the singular nominal head (helicopter) and the mismatch
(flights vs. canyons)varied.
(22) a. Thehelicopterfortheflightsoverthecanyon
b. Thehelicopterfortheflightoverthecanyons

It turned out that following sentence beginnings of type (22a) with the mismatching DP the flights being structurally closer to the nominal head of the subject DP
three times as many SVA-errors were produced than following sentence beginnings
of type (22b). Obviously, it is not only the distance between the nominal head of the
subject DP and the verb which has an impact on the agreement process but also the
distance between the nominal head and the mismatching DP that follows it. Interestingly, if an SVA-error occurs in cases like (22a), the verb does not agree with the
linearly more local DP the canyon but rather with the semi-local DP theflights.
But why should the syntactic distance have such an impact? Nicol (1995)
assumes that in a syntactic structure, a plural feature percolates from a DP to the
verb, while simultaneously, the post-nominal modifier is constructed. Possibly, the
more local plural DP (in (22b) the canyons) is simply processed too late to have an
effect on the specification of the number on the verb; that is, its plural feature does
not have enough time to percolate. The error rate after sentence preambles like
(22b) was also shown to be lower than the error rate after preambles of the type the
editor of the history books (as used in the preceding experiments), although in both
to repeat the sentence preamble and to complete it using the previously specified adjective.
One of the Italian sentence preambles used in the experiment is given in (i) with the correct
form of the predicative adjective in brackets.

(i)

il
cero
in ciesa
(e ross-o)
the.m candle(m) in church(f) (is red-m)
The candle in the church (is red).

As in the experiments dealing with number mismatch, it turned out that agreement errors
were induced by the local nouns grammatical gender. That is, subjects tended to produce
errors like il cero in ciesa e rossa, in which the adjective agrees in gender with the local feminine noun ciesa (church). Note that all the nouns used in the experiments were singular.
Therefore, the only feature available for copy was the gender feature.

Grammar as Processor

cases the mismatching DP is equally close (that is, adjacent) to the verb. According to Nicol, this is due to the fact that the modifying PP of the history books is
less complex than the PP for the flight over the canyons. Consequently, in the latter
modifying PP, the plural feature of the mismatching DP canyons has a longer way
to take (also see Franck et al.(2002)).21
In one of their experiments, Bock & Miller (1991) also considered the role
of the semantic factor animacy in the production of number agreement. Consideration of this factor is motivated by the well-known fact that a feature like animacy is correlated with subject status to a high degree (see, for instance, Clark
& Begun 1971). Consequently, one might expect that the construction of SVA is
more error-prone when the nominal head of the subject DP lacks that prototypical subject property, while another preverbal noun possesses that property.
According to this hypothesis, an agreement error like the one in (23a) is expected
to be more likely than the one in (23b) since only in the former, the local noun
(babies) is[+animate].
(23) a. Theblanketonthebabiesweresmall.
b. Thebabyontheblanketsweresmall.

In the experiment, however, this expectation was not borne out: animacy of the
local noun did not have any influence on the error rate. This outcome supports
the assumption that a conceptual feature like animacy may very well play a role in
the selection of a sentential subject, that the same feature, however, does not influence the implementation of subject-verb agreement (at least not in English). The
authors interpret this as proof for a modular conception of language production
according to which different information is available at different processing levels
(see Section 3.1). At the level where syntactic relations are established, semantic
and conceptual features are no longer available and can therefore not have any
influence on the occurrence oferrors.
. In another experiment, Nicol (1995) investigated the role of the syntactic distance. In
that experiment, sentence preambles like the ones in (i) and (ii) were presented.

(i)
(ii)

the owner of the house who charmed the realtors


the owner of the house which charmed the realtors

The syntactic path which the plural feature of realtors has to take is shorter in (i) than it is
in (ii), since the relative clause in (i) stands in a hierarchically higher position (high attachment) than the one in (ii) (low attachment). If the syntactic distance had an influence on
the error rate then due to the shorter path more SVA-errors should occur following sentence beginnings like (i). Unfortunately, Nicols results were not significant. Altogether, there
were not enough errors in order to corroborate an influence of the syntactic distance (the
attachment site).

Morphosyntactic features in language production

Barker, Nicol & Garrett (2001) point out that Bock & Miller (1991) may have
missed certain animacy effects since they only looked at a subset of the possible
combinations of animacy (inanimate-animate; animate-inanimate). In line with
Bock and Miller, Barker et al. find that the animacy of the local noun did not have
an impact on the error rate. Besides that, however, they show that the animacy of
the subject noun did influence the error rate: local agreement was more likely with
inanimate subjects (for example, the blackboard behind the desks ) than with
animate subjects (for example, the girl behind the desks ).22
To sum up, let me repeat the most important results from the experiments
dealing with proximity concord. In all studies, the experimental setting was
designed in a way to elicit erroneous agreement on the verb. In particular, the
results show that the verb occasionally fails to agree with the nominal head of the
subject DP when the subject DP is complex and contains a noun with different
number specification that intervenes between the nominal head and the verb. By
far the highest number of errors occurred when the head noun was singular and
the local noun plural (see Section 5.2.2.5 for further discussion of this phenomenon). Moreover, the results indicate that the nature of the modifying constituent
also has an impact: after PP complements, more errors were observed than after
sentential complements. Finally, a higher rate of SVA-errors was observed when
the head noun wasanimate.23
In the following section, spontaneous errors from my corpus shall be compared
to the experimental data. On the one hand, it is worthwhile investigating to what
extent the two groups of errors show similar characteristics. On the other hand, we
also need to consider the possibility that other influences may come to fruition in

. Barker et al. (2001) investigated the role of two further semantic factors: semantic overlap
between head and local noun and plausibility of modification by the sentence predicate. As
for the first factor, it turned out that degree of semantic overlap can affect the error rate. SVAerrors were almost twice as likely when the two nouns had a high degree of overlap, as in (i),
than when they had a low degree of overlap, as in (ii).

(i)
(ii)

The canoe by the sailboats were damaged


The canoe by the cabins were damaged

With respect to the second factor, it turned out that the agreement process was not affected by
the degree to which each of the nouns within the complex subject DP bears a plausible relation to the sentence predicate. To give one example: in the canoe by the cabins was damaged the
predicate might plausibly refer to either of the nouns, while the same is not true for the girl
behind the desks is smart (also see Footnote 44).
. In further experiments, Nicol, Forster & Veres (1997) and Pearlmutter, Garnsey & Bock
(1999) were able to show that the by now familiar asymmetric interference from plurals does not
only arise during sentence production but is also observed in sentence comprehension tasks.

Grammar as Processor

the German slips. As far as experimentally induced errors are concerned, various
studies have reported that speakers of different languages may have at their disposal
different devices for constructing subject-verb agreement (Vigliocco, Butterworth
& Semenza 1995; Vigliocco, Butterworth & Garrett 1996; Vigliocco, Hartsuiker,
Jarema & Kolk 1996). Apparently, the results of Bock and colleagues are not easily generalized, since English with its rather poor inflectional system may not
be the best candidate for investigating this phenomenon. In a series of experiments (analogous to those conducted by Bock & Miller (1991)), in which Italian,
Spanish, French, and Dutch sentence preambles were to be completed by the subjects, Vigliocco et al. (1995, 1996) were able to detect semantic influences that did
not play a role in control experiments conducted with English speakers. Note that
throughout Section 5.2.2, the discussion of German spontaneous errors from my corpus will be supplemented by further experimental results wheneverappropriate.
5.2.2 Local subject-verb agreement in speech errors
In some of the studies the results of which I have reported in the preceding section
as well as in a study on proximity concord by Francis (1986), one may also come
across some scattered spontaneous errors like, for instance, the one cited in (19)
above and the two errors given in (24) ((24a) is from Francis (1986:318), (24b)
from Bock & Cutting(1992:99)).24
(24) a. [thefullimpactofthecuts]haventhithardasyet

thefullimpacthasnthitashardyet
b. [theonlygeneralizationIwoulddaretomakeaboutourcustomers]are
thattheyrepierced theonlygeneralizationisthattheyrepierced

Browsing through the articles, I found only 26 spontaneous English SVA-errors


which were unambiguously caused by agreement of the verb with a wrong noun.25
In all 26 cases, this wrong noun is part of a complex subject DP within which it

. I was taking care to only cite spontaneous spoken errors. Consequently, errors for which
a letter or a newspaper was given as a source were not taken into consideration (e.g., some
data in Francis (1986)), even though these certainly share important characteristics with slips
of the tongue (as well as with the experimental data), such as, for instance, a stronger influence
of a local plural DP. For written SVA-errors see Strang (1966), Francis (1986), Fayol, Largy &
Lemaire (1994), and Chanquoy & Negro (1996).
. Other types of SVA-errors shall not be considered here. Amongst these are shifts of
agreement markers as in (i) (Garrett 1975:163) and omissions of agreement markers as in (ii)
(Stemberger 1983a:578).

(i)
(ii)

he go backs to he goes back to


it just lose something it just loses something

Morphosyntactic features in language production

is more local to the verb than the nominal head of the subject DP (in 24 of them,
the local noun is adjacent to the verb). Moreover, in 22 cases, the local noun with
which the verb agrees is plural. For the most part, it is contained within a prepositional phrase modifying the head (17 cases; see, for instance (24a)). More rarely,
the local noun is part of a (reduced) relative clause (3 cases; see, for instance
(24b)), of an infinitival complement, or another constituent (6 cases). Clearly, as
far as error type and error source are concerned, the similarities between the few
spontaneous English slips and the errors elicited in the experiments arestriking.
With that in mind, I will now turn to the spontaneous local SVA-errors from
my corpus. As is well-known, the German agreement system is richer than that
of English. German verbs agree with their subject with regard to the features
person and number. Table (25) illustrates the agreement paradigm for the regular
German verb lachen (to laugh). It will turn out, however, that for the most part,
the German SVA-errors are due only to the number feature. That is, just as in the
experimental and spontaneous English errors, the conflicting specifications are
3rd person singular and 3rd personplural.
(25) Subject-verb agreement inGerman

1st
2nd
3rd

singular

plural

ich lach-e
du lach-st
er /sie/ es lach-t

wir lach-en
ihr lach-t
sie lach-en

In Section 5.2.2.1, I will start my investigation of German SVA-errors by looking


at those slips in which a (local) noun from within a complex subject DP can be
held responsible for the mismatch between subject and verb. In other words: in
these errors, the structural conditions are similar to those in the English slips
in (24). However, interesting differences will emerge in Section 5.2.2.2 when we
turn to errors in which the verb agrees with an object DP, an error pattern that
has not been described for English slips. In Sections 5.2.2.3 and 5.2.2.4, further
types of SVA-errors will be introduced. Having presented the types of SVA-errors
attested in my corpus, I will investigate further factors that might facilitate the
occurrence of an SVA-error: first, the prominence of the plural feature in SVAerrors (Section 5.2.2.5); second, the effect of the morphosyntactic features gender
and case on SVA-errors (Section 5.2.2.6); and third, possible morphophonological and semantic factors (Sections 5.2.2.7 and5.2.2.8).
5.2.2.1 Agreement with noun within subject DP
My corpus contains a total of 149 slips that are due to local subject-verb agreement. In 76 out of these 149 slips, the verb agrees with a local noun from within

Grammar as Processor

a complex subject DP. In this group, two different types of erroneous agreement
have to be distinguished: agreement with a noun contained in a genitive modifier and agreement with a noun from within a prepositional phrase. For illustration, consider the two representative examples in (26). In (26a), the nominal
head of the subject DP Einfhrung (introduction) is followed by a genitive
DP containing the plural noun Mnzen (coins) and the verb verlaufen (to go
off ) agrees in number with that local noun. In example (26b), a PP intervenes
between the nominal head Abstimmung (voting) and the verb stattfinden (to
take place) and the verb agrees with the plural noun Gesetze (laws) contained
in thisPP.
(26) a. [die Einfhrung der
neu-en Mnze-n] verlief-en

the introduction the.gen.pl new-pl coin-pl
go.off.past-3.pl
die Einfhrung verlief
reibungslos
the introduction go.off.past.3.sg smoothly

reibungslos
smoothly

Theintroductionofthenewcoinswentoffsmoothly.

b. weil
morgen [die Abstimmung ber die
neu-en Gesetz-e]

because tomorrow the voting
about the.pl new-pl law-pl
weil
morgen
die Abstimmung
because tomorrow the voting

stattfind-en
take.place-3.pl

stattfind-et
take.place-3.sg

becausethevotingaboutthenewlawswilltakeplacetomorrow.

Clearly, this error pattern is reminiscent of the one described above for the
English SVA-errors, be they elicited or spontaneous. In all cases, the verb erroneously agrees with a noun intervening between the nominal head of the subject DP
and the verb. Moreover, and also similar to the English data, the verb agrees with
an intervening plural noun in 70 of the 76 cases (92.1%). The six errors not conforming to this pattern will be discussed in Section5.2.2.5.
In (27), I give a simplified structure for the slip in (26b). In the structure,
I only indicate the feature copy process that is relevant for the error, that is,
feature copy onto AgrS. Of course, number and gender features are also copied
from the roots onto other nodes within DP. In this and the following structures,
the arrow labeled feature copy highlights the agreement controller and the
agreement target (as well as their linear proximity), while the arrows along
the branches of the tree structure mark the syntactic path the plural feature
of the local noun has to take. In addition, the number feature of the nominal
head of the subject DP, that is, the feature that should have been copied, is indicated by a brokencircle.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

(27)

TnsP
Tns

DP
LP

D
[+]

PP

P
[] []
[ber]

Tns

LP

Tns

Tns

DP

[+]

tL

[]

D
LP

LP

[] [+]

AgrS
[+]

feature copy

The structure in (27) illustrates that the erroneous agreement controller gesetz,
while being linearly closer to the verb (and AgrS) than the nominal head, is syntactically more distant from the verb. Put differently, the distance the number
feature of gesetz has to travel through the syntactic structure to reach AgrS
is considerably longer than the way the number feature of the nominal head
abstimm would have to take. It might therefore be tempting to assume that
linear distance, not syntactic distance, is the decisive factor inSVA-errors.
Remember, however, that Nicol (1995) was able to demonstrate that syntactic distance is an important factor. In her experiments, she used complex subject
DPs as preambles which contained two nouns following the nominal head of the
subject DP (see the examples in (22)). The error patterns revealed that in such
constructions, if an error occurred, the verb was more likely to agree with the
semi-local plural noun, that is, the noun closer to the nominal head of the subject
DP but linearly more distant from the verb. Clearly, the syntactic path from the
local noun to AgrS is always longer than the path from the nominal head of the
subject DP. Therefore, agreement of the verb with features of a local noun is an
unlikely event. In cases like (26), linear proximity may favour the occurrence of
an SVA-error. Nicols data, however, show that linear proximity is not everything.
If the syntactic distance between erronoeous agreement controller and agreement
target gets too large then proximity (even adjacency) loses its effect (see Franck
et al. (2002) for similar results with French and English preambles). Note that in
a spreading activation architecture (for example, Dell (1986)), this phenomenon
could be accounted for by assuming that the number information loses some of

Grammar as Processor

its activation with every step along the way. Thus, the more steps it has to take, the
less activation remains forinterference.26
In my corpus, there are five SVA-errors in which the complex subject DP contains two nouns following the nominal head. Hence, the structure of the subject
DP in these errors resembles the structure of the preambles used in the experiments by Nicol (1995) and Franck et al. (2002). Although the small number of
errors does not allow for safe conclusions, it is interesting to note that in four
out of these five errors, the error source is semi-local to the verb, that is, a singular noun intervenes between the error source and the verb. In all four cases, two
prepositional phrases follow the nominal head of the complex subject DP; see,
for instance, the example in (28a), in which the verb agrees with the semi-local
plural noun Freunde (friends). The one exception is given in (28b). In this case,
the nominal head of the subject DP is followed by a PP which contains a genitive
modifier. It is only the last of the three nouns within the subject DP that is specified for plural. We must therefore assume that the local noun Zustnde (situation)
is responsible for theSVA-error.
(28) a. [unsere Reise mit Freund-en nach Sdamerika] war-en,
h,

our
trip with friend-pl to
SouthAmerica be.past-3.pl, er,

war
leider
ein ziemlicher Reinfall
be.past.3.sg unfortunately a quite
disappointment

Unfortunately,ourtripwithfriendstoSouthAmericawasquite
adisappointment.
b. [das Problem bei der Einschtzung der
dortigen Zustnd-e]

the problem with the evaluation
the.gen.pl there
situation-pl

sind, dass es kaum zuverlssige Quelle-n gib-t


be.3.pl that it hardly reliable
source-pl give-3.sg

das Problem ist,


dass
the problem be.3.sg that

Theproblemwithevaluatingthesituationthereisthathardlyany
reliable sourcesexist.

. The same line of reasoning can explain why SVA-errors are more likely to occur after
non-clausal complements (for instance, a prepositional phrase as in (21a)) than after clausal
complements (for instance, a relative clause as in (21c)) following the nominal head. Bock &
Cutting (1992) argue that this difference is due to a clause packaging organization of production units. Franck et al. (2002), however, argue that the different error rates are better
explained in terms of syntactic structure. Again, the syntactic path is shorter for the plural
feature of a local noun contained in a PP modifier than for the plural feature of a local noun
contained in a relative clause.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

c. weil
[die Debatte ber die
Kondition-en] die Entscheidung

because the debate about the.pl condition-pl the decision

verzger-n weil
die Debatte die Enscheidung verzger-t
delay-3.pl because the debate the decision
delay-3.sg

becausethedebateabouttheconditionsisdelayingthedecision.

Moreover, in three SVA-errors from my corpus, in which the verb agrees with a
semi-local plural noun, the local singular noun is not part of the complex subject DP. Rather, in these cases, the local singular noun is contained in a direct
object or a prepositional adjunct intervening between the complex subject DP and
the verb. In (28c), for instance, the singular noun Entscheidung (decision) precedes the verb. Still, the verb erroneously agrees with the semi-local plural noun
Konditionen(conditions).
What all the German and English slips discussed so far have in common is
that a verb agrees with a plural noun that is part of a complex subject DP which
precedes the verb. Obviously, this is not the only conceivable option regarding
defective feature copy. On the one hand, a verb might also agree with a plural noun
that follows it, that is, a verb might anticipate the number feature. On the other
hand, the verb might be preceded by a constituent which is not (part of) the subject of the clause. In the remainder of this section, I will consider the first option;
the second option will be addressed in the nextsection.
In my corpus, there is only one slip that seems to contradict the generalization that the erroneous agreement controller precedes the verb. In example (29a),
a prepositional phrase precedes the finite verb, while the complex subject DP
appears in post-verbal position. As in (26b), the subject DP contains a plural
noun within a PP modifier, but in contrast to (26b), the noun preceding the verb
(Wort (word)) is singular. Therefore, in this case, we are not dealing with local
agreement at least not at surface structure (see Section 5.2.3 for discussion).27
Note, however, that Mehrzahl (multitude), the nominal head of the subject DP,
is semantically plural. Hence, the utterance resulting from the error may be
ungrammatical, but it is certainly not as deviant as (26a) and (26b). For comparison, consider the English equivalent: a multitude of words has/have to be activated
(see Section5.2.2.8).

. Note that (29a) might also be analyzed as a phrasal blend in which the two DPs [eine
Mehrzahl an Wrtern] (a multitude of words) and [mehrere Wrter] (several words) are in
competition. The latter DP requires a plural verb and this is the form that surfaces in the
error. Actually, in my corpus, this slip is classified as a blend. See Section 5.2.2.4 for further
discussion.

Grammar as Processor

(29) a.

fr jedes geuerte Wort mss-en [eine Mehrzahl an Wrt-ern]


for every uttered
word must-3.pl a
multitude of word-pl

aktiviert werd-en
muss
eine Mehrzahl aktiviert
activated be.pass-inf must.3.sg a
multitude activated
werd-en
be.pass-inf
Foreveryutteredword,amultitudeofwordshastobeactivated.

b. Arethehelicopterfortheflightssafe?

Similarly, in the spontaneous English data, there is not a single case of plural feature
anticipation (that is, a case like the hypothetical error My grandmother like the pictures). However, in an experiment, Vigliocco & Nicol (1998) were able to elicit SVAerrors in yes/no-questions, that is, in a configuration in which the verb precedes the
subject. In the experiment, participants were first presented an adjective (for example,
safe) and then a complex subject DP (for example, the DP the helicopter for the flights).
Their task was to form a question from that material, for instance, Is/was the helicopter for the flights safe?. Interestingly, the frequency and distribution of agreement
errors was similar to the pattern previously described for declarative sentences with
complex subject DPs. In particular, participants produced SVA-errors like the one in
(29b) although in this string due to subject-auxiliary inversion the plural noun is
not local to the verb. Again, this implies that linear proximity of plural noun and verb
is not the only decisive factor (see Section 5.2.3.4 for furtherdiscussion).
Table (30) gives an overview of the SVA-errors from my corpus in which the
verb erroneously agrees with a (semi-)local noun from within the subject DP. In all
cases, the error source (the agreement controller) intervenes between the nominal
head of the subject DP and the verb; it is either part of a genitive complement or a
prepositionalphrase.
(30) SVA-errors: agreement of verb with local noun in subject DP (n =76)
Error source

plural

within genitive complement


and local toverb
and semi-local toverb

40
2

within prepositionalphrase
and local toverb
and semi-local toverb

23
5

Total

singular

42

1
1
-

28

5
5
-

70

5.2.2.2 Agreement with noun within object/adjunct XP


I will now come back to the second option for defective agreement mentioned
above: agreement of the verb with a noun that is not part of a complex subject

Morphosyntactic features in language production

DP but which still precedes the verb. Obviously, in English, the possibilities for a
non-subject to directly precede the verb are highly restricted in matrix as well as
in embedded clauses. There is, for instance, no construction in English like The
colour of the cars likes Peter, in which the plural object DP the cars preceding the
verb would be a potential error source.28 In fact, English objects can only directly
precede the verb in wh-questions. The spontaneous slip in (31) shows that in this
particular configuration, a verb may indeed agree in number with an object whphrase (Levelt & Cutler1983:206).
(31) Whatthingsarethiskid,isthiskidgoingtosaycorrectly?

Things are different in German. Two aspects of German word order are relevant
in the present context. First, due to the underlying SOV word order, object DPs
always precede the verb in embedded clauses. Moreover, non-subjects (arguments
and adjuncts) can directly precede the verb in main clauses due to verb second.
That is, in contrast to English, it is common for an object DP or a DP within an
adjunct to be more local to the verb than the subject DP. We therefore expect to
find SVA-errors in which the verb erroneously agrees with a DP from within an
object or an adjunctphrase.
And indeed: in 63 out of 149 local SVA-errors from my corpus, the verb agrees
with a DP that is contained in an object phrase or a prepositional adjunct. Interestingly, 53 out of these 63 errors are observed in embedded clauses, as exemplified
by the examples in (32). In (32a), the direct object reife Damen (mature ladies)
precedes the verb to which it passes on its plural feature. (32b) is different in that
the verb is preceded by an adjunct, a prepositional phrase, containing the plural
noun Nebenwirkungen (side effects). Again, the verb agrees in number with the
local pluralnoun.29

. It is, of course, possible to topicalize objects in English, as, for instance, in (i) and in the
cleft construction in (ii). Still, in contrast to German, in these constructions, the object presumably occupies an extra-clausal position and the subject DP always intervenes between the
topicalized phrase and the verb.

(i)
(ii)

The colour of the cars, Peter likes (it)


It is the colour of the cars, that Peter likes

. Due to the homophony of the German plural allomorph -(e)n with the 3rd person plural
affix on verbs, (32a) as well as some of the slips in the previous subsection might also be
analyzed as phonological errors (perseverations). Such an alternative analysis is not available
for (32b), because the stem vowel of the verb mssen (must) changes in the error because of
its new number specification.

Grammar as Processor

(32) a.

weil
er offensichtlich [reif-e
Dame-n] bevorzug-en
because he obviously
mature-pl lady-pl prefer-3.pl

weil
er bevorzug-t
because he prefer-3.sg

becauseheobviouslyprefersmatureladies.

b. weil
der Arzt mich
[ber mgliche Nebenwirkung-en]

because the doctor 1.sg.acc about possible side.effect-pl

aufklr-en mss-en, h, muss


inform-inf must-3.pl er, must.3.sg

becausethedoctorhastoinformmeaboutpossiblesideeffects.

A tree structure representation for (32a) is given in (33). In this structure, I neglect
the adverbial offensichtlich (obviously). Note, however, that the adverbial, which
presumably adjoins to VP, would make the syntactic path for the plural feature of
the direct object evenlonger.
Again, it is only from a strictly linear point of view that the error source is
closer to the agreement target. From a structural point of view, the erroneous
agreement controller is not local to the verb because the syntactic path the plural
feature has to take to reach AgrS is obviously longer than the path the relevant
features from the (nominal head of the) subject DP would have to take. As before,
we may assume that the linear proximity of two constituents is sometimes capable of cancelling the structural prerequisites in particular, Spec-head relation
between controller and target for the establishment ofagreement.
(33)

TnsP
Tns

DP
VP

[3rd] []

Tns

[]
DP
D

tL
LP

LP

[] [+]

Tns
Tns

AgrS

[]

[+]

feature copy

Morphosyntactic features in language production

Similar to the data presented in the previous section (see (28)), we find cases in
which two nouns one plural, one singular intervene between the nominal head
of the subject DP and the verb. There are 12 such cases in my corpus. In four of
them, the verb agrees with a semi-local plural noun, while in the other eight, the
plural noun is local to the verb.30 I will not go into all possible configurations, but
only present one semi-local and one local case both of which involve a complex
object XP. The object DP in (34a) is structurally similar to the complex subject DPs
in (22a) and (28a): a singular head noun is followed by two prepositional phrases
where the first one contains a plural noun and the second one a singular noun.
Given that the semi-local noun Autos (cars) is the only plural noun in the clause,
it seems likely that the verb agrees with thatnoun.
(34) a. weil
er sowieso [das Buch mit den Auto-s auf dem Cover]

because he anyway the book with the car-pl on the cover]

nehm-en weil
er sowieso das Buch nimm-t
take-3.pl because he anyway the book take-3.sg

becausehewilltakethebookwiththecarsonthecoveranyway.

b. wenn eine hirnorganische Strung


[zur Strung
einer oder

when a brainorganic malfunction to.the breakdown of.one or

mehrerer Verarbeitungs-komponente-n]
more
processing-component-pl

eine hirnorganische
a
brainorganic

fhr-en wenn
lead-3.pl when

Strung
zur Strung
fhr-t
malfunction to.the breakdown lead-3.sg

whenabrainorganicmalfunctionleadstothebreakdownofoneormore
processingcomponents

In contrast, (34b) involves a complex object PP. The head of this PP is singular but
is followed by a genitive complement containing the plural noun Komponenten

. In three slips, both intervening nouns are specified for plural and it can therefore not be
decided whether the verb agrees with the local or the semi-local plural noun. One of these
slips is given in (i). In this example, the nominal head of the subject DP is followed by a
genitive complement containing the plural noun Haare (hair). Moreover, the indirect object
preceding the verb contains the plural noun Vorgaben (requirements).

(i)

weil
die Lnge seiner Haar-e nicht den Vorgabe-n
entsprech-en
because the length of.his hair-pl not the requirement-pl comply.with-3.pl

weil
die Lnge nicht entsprich-t
because the length not comply.with-3.sg

because the length of his hair does not comply with the requirements.

Grammar as Processor

(components). In this example, the plural noun is local (adjacent) to the verb
which surfaces in its pluralform.
In all examples discussed so far, defective feature copy is observed in embedded clauses. SVA-errors in main clauses in which the verb is preceded by a constituent that is not the subject of the clause are less frequent, but they do occur.
Ten slips in my corpus follow this pattern. Two examples with direct objects in
clause-initial position are given in (35). In both examples, the verb surfaces in its
plural form because of a preceding pluralnoun.
(35) a. [dein-e Kumpel-s] knn-en, h, kann-st du
doch
auch

your-pl buddy-pl can-3.pl, er, can-2.sg you(sg) mod.part also

morgen
noch treff-en
tomorrow still meet-inf

Youcanstillmeetyourbuddiestomorrow,cantyou?

b. [die
unschn-en
Ding-e] vergess-en ich, vergess-e
ich

the.pl unpleasant-pl thing-pl forget-3.pl I
forget-1.sg I
meist ziemlich schnell
mostly rather
quickly
Mostly,Iforgettheunpleasantthingsratherquickly.

A simplified tree structure for example (35a) is given in (36). In this example, the
V-Tns complex has moved to C and the direct object occupies SpecCP. Hence,
the subject pronoun (marked by the broken circle) is lower in the structure than
the verb. In Section 5.2.3, I will discuss the significance of these surface structure
properties for the implementation ofagreement.
(36)

CP
C

DP
D

LP

[+]
[2nd]

[] [+]

Tns

feature copy

Tns

TnsP
Tns

DP

Tns

AgrS

[]

[+]

[2nd]

VP

tTns

tDP...tL

As in the examples discussed in the previous section, in most of the cases, it is


the plural feature that can be held responsible for the error: in 57 out of 63 object
agreement errors (90.5%), the verb agrees with a (semi-)local plural noun. The

Morphosyntactic features in language production

distribution of errors in which the verb agrees with either an (in)direct object or
with a noun contained in a prepositional phrase is given in Table (37). In both
groups, I make a distinction based on whether the error occurs in an embedded
or a mainclause.
(37) SVA-errors: agreement of verb with (noun from within) object XP (n =63)
Error source

plural

singular

within (in)direct object DP


preceding verb in embeddedclause
preceding verb in mainclause

39
31
8

3
3
-

withinPP-adjunct
preceding verb in embeddedclause
preceding verb in mainclause

18
16
2

3
3
-

Total

57

As pointed out at the outset of this section, comparable SVA-errors have not
been reported for English with the notable exception of (31). However, the
possibility of object attraction in the construction of subject-verb agreement
has been experimentally investigated for Dutch by Hartsuiker, Antn-Mndez
& van Zee (2001).31 In Dutch, just as in German, the object precedes the verb
in embedded clauses. In the experiment, participants first saw a main clause
(like Karen says that ), then an embedded clause and a verb stem. Their task
was to complete the embedded clause using a perfect tense auxiliary (which is
specified for number) and the past participle of the verb. In one condition, the
embedded clause contained a complex subject DP with a prepositional modifier; in the other condition, the embedded clause contained a direct object. In
both conditions, participants produced SVA-errors. In 47 out of 48 errors, the
verb erroneously agreed with a local plural noun. More errors occurred in the
subject-modifier condition (34 errors) than in the object condition (14 errors).
An example for the former type of error is given in (38a), while the latter type of
error is illustrated in(38b).

. Hartsuiker et al. (2001: 550) also cite two spontanous Dutch slips in which the verb
agrees with a preceding local plural object; one of these slips is given in (i).

(i)

Ik weet dat tijd wond-en hel-en



I know that time wound-pl heal-3.pl
I know that time heals all wounds.

dat tijd heel-t


that time heal-3.sg

Grammar as Processor

(38) a. Karin zegt dat [het meisje met de krans-en] hebb-en

Karin says that the girl
with the garland-pl have-3.pl

ge-wonn-en
part-win-part

Karinsaysthatthegirlwiththegarlandshaswon.

b. Karin zegt dat het meisje [de krans-en] hebb-en ge-wonn-en



Karin says that the girl the garland-pl have-3.pl part-win-part

Karinsaysthatthegirlhaswonthegarlands.

Just like the spontaneous data discussed above, these experimental results clearly
show that number information from outside the subject DP can interfere with
the establishment of subject-verb agreement albeit less frequently than activated
features from within the subjectDP.32
5.2.2.3 Agreement with local nominative DP
At present, my corpus contains ten slips, in which the verb agrees with a local
noun which is neither part of a complex subject DP nor contained in an object DP
or prepositional phrase. In all these cases, the error source is part of a comparative
construction in which it receives nominative case. For illustration, consider the
two examples in (39). In (39a), the comparative phrase is embedded under the
adjective schneller (faster); in this environment, the second person pronoun
appears in the nominative. In the error, the future tense auxiliary agrees with the
features of the local pronoun instead of with the sentential subject, which is 3rd
personsingular.
(39) a. ich denke, dass der M. [schneller als du]
reagier-en wir-st

I think that the M. faster
than you(sg) react-inf will-2.sg

dass der M. reagier-en wir-d


that the M. react-inf will-3.sg

IthinkthatM.willreactfasterthanyou.

. In addition, Hartsuiker et al. (2001) demonstrate that in Dutch, plural direct object
pronouns are also capable of triggering erroneous agreement (see Section 5.2.2.6 for further
discussion). In my corpus, there is only one error in which the verb agrees (in person and
number) with a plural object pronoun. Note, however, that the object pronoun euch in (i) is
assigned dative case.

(i)

die
Bar-s, die
the.pl bar-pl, rel.pl

er euch
empfohlen
he 2.pl.dat recommend.part

h, empfohlen
hat
er, recommend.part has.3.sg

the bars which he has recommended to you.

habt,
have.2.pl

Morphosyntactic features in language production

b. weil
du,
[genau wie die
meisten andere-n Leute],

because you(sg), just like the.pl most
other-pl people.pl

denk-en, dass Gebrdensprache international ist


think-3.pl that sign.language
international be.3.sg

weil
du denk-st
because you(sg) think-2.sg

becauseyou,justlikemostotherpeople,thinkthatsignlanguage
isinternational.

Structurewise, (39b) is different because in this utterance, the comparative construction is part of an apposition which separates the subject (the 2nd person singular pronoun) and the verb. But just as in (39a), the comparative phrase contains
a nominative DP; this DP includes the inherently plural noun Leute (people). In
the error, the verb denken (think) agrees with this local pluralnoun.
All errors of this type occur in embedded clauses because it is only in embedded clauses that the comparative phrase containing the local (pro)noun precedes
the finite verb. In five of these errors, the question of whether the error source is
singular or plural is irrelevant because it is only the person feature of the local
(pro)noun that is responsible for the error; see, for instance, (39a). In four of the
errors in this group, the verb agrees with a local DP that is specified for plural
one of these cases is (39b). There is only one instance in which the subject is
specified for plural, while the intervening nominative pronoun issingular.
What we have to be aware of with respect to these errors is the fact that these
constructions are commonly assumed to involve PF-deletion of material. Underlyingly, the comparative phrase in (39a) contains the verb reagieren (react) and the
2nd person future auxiliary wirst, while the apposition in (39b) contains the plural
form of the verb denken (think). In (40), the material that should be deleted at PF
is crossed out (see Lechner (2001) for an elaborate analysis which involves extraposition and deletion ofmaterial).
(40) a. dassderM.[schnelleralsdureagieren wirst]reagierenwird
b. weildu,[genauwiediemeistenanderenLeutedenken],denkst,dass

It could therefore be suggested that the feature mismatch observed in (39) is not
due to erroneous feature copy from the local (pro)noun but rather that it is the
result of a deletion error. That is, at PF, the deletion mechanism targets the wrong
verb or verb-auxiliary combination, thereby giving rise to theSVA-error.
5.2.2.4 SVA-errors in blends
Before turning to factors that possibly have an influence on the occurrence of local
SVA-errors, let me introduce one final type of error: SVA-errors in phrasal blends.
In all of the errors discussed so far (with the notable exception of (29a)), the error

Grammar as Processor

source be it located within the subject DP or within an object/adjunct XP is


local to the verb. This property does not hold for SVA-errors in blends. In these
errors, we are not to speak of a local or non-local error source because the noun
that triggers the erroneous agreement does not surface in the actual utterance.
Remember that in blends, two planning frames are activated in parallel and elements of both frames make it into the final utterance. Whenever the competing
frames contain subject DPs with diverging number and/or person features, a feature mismatch between subject and verb will arise when the subject DP of one
frame combines with the verb of the otherframe.
This is exactly what has happened in the blends in (41). In (41a), the competing subject DPs are man (one) and wir (we). In the error, the singular subject man
surfaces with the plural-marked verb from the competing frame. Crucially, there
is no plural noun in the actual utterance (note that the local noun Kind (child)
is singular).33 Similarly, in (41b), the competing subject DPs are the singular DP
meine Rede (my speech) and the plural DP meine Worte (my words). In contrast
to (41a), in this blend, a plural subject combines with a singularverb.
(41) a. weil
man das Kind nicht frag-en knn-en weil

because one the child not ask-inf can-3.pl because

man nicht frag-en kann


// wir nicht frag-en knn-en
one not ask-inf can.3.sg // we not ask-inf can-3.pl

becauseone//wecannotaskthechild.

b. das ist
mein-e Wort-e

that be.3.sg my-pl word-pl

das ist
meine Rede // das sind
mein-e Wort-e
that be.3.sg my
speech // that be.3.pl my-pl word-pl

ThatswhatIvealwayssaid//Thesearemywords.

My collection of spontaneous slips contains 14 SVA-errors in blends. What distinguishes these errors from the ones discussed in the previous sections is the
. The error in (i) is quite similar to the one in (41a). Under a blend analysis, the same
two subject DPs as in (41a) are in competition. Note, however, that in (i), the VP contains the
plural noun Methoden (methods). Thus, this error could also be analyzed as a local SVA-error
in which the verb agrees with the preverbal direct object (in line with the examples in (32)).

(i) dass man Prf-methode-n


that one test-method-pl

find-en mss-en
find-inf must-3.pl

dass man find-en muss


// dass wir find-en mss-en
that one find-inf must.3.sg // that we find-inf must-3.pl
that one has to find testmethods//that we have to find test methods.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

fact that no defective feature copy (from a local noun) is involved in the blend
errors. Rather, subject-verb agreement is established successfully in both competing frames, as shown for (41a) in the structures in (42). Subsequently, that is, after
MS, the two frames blend into one and the singular subject34 (frame ) combines
with the plural feature under the agreement node (frame).
(42)

1
DP

[]

TnsP
Tns
LP

TnsP

DP
AgrS
[]

[1st]
[+]

Tns
LP

AgrS
[+]

Given the structural parallelism between both frames, we can state that the competing subject DPs the one that surfaces in the erroneous utterance and the one
that loses the competition are equally close to AgrS. Despite the fact that the DP
which is responsible for the error is not local to the verb (in the sense of being
closer), I include SVA-errors in blends in the group of local SVA-errors for the
simple reason that they are not non-local. In six of the 14 cases, a singular DP combines with a plural verb, which means that the error-inducing DP (that is, the one
that does not make it into the utterance) is plural (41a). In the other eight cases, a
plural DP combines with a singular verb(41b).
5.2.2.5 The prominence of [+plural]
One aspect of the SVA-errors we still need to consider is the question why, for the
most part, it is the plural feature of a local noun which triggers erroneous agreement. This pattern has not only been found in all of the experimental studies on
proximity concord, it also clearly holds for the spontaneous data. Going back to
the 26 spontaneous English slips mentioned above (see (24)), we find that there are
only four cases in which the local noun is singular; two of these are given in (43).
In (43a), the agreement source problem is part of a reduced relative clause within
the complex subject DP (Bock & Cutting 1992:102); in (43b), the local singular
noun coverage is part of a PP modifier following the plural noun disputes (Bock &
Eberhard1993:59).

. In structure , the subject position is occupied by man. Note, however, that the
Vocabulary item man might also be taken to be the realization of the features [3rd] and [pl]
in the absence of a gender feature.

Grammar as Processor

(43) a. [theeducationalsystemsneededtocorrecttheproblem]islacking


theeducationalsystemsarelacking
b. [disputesoverhealthcoverage]wasthecause

disputeswerethecause

In my corpus, too, spontaneous slips in which the verb agrees with a local singular
DP be it part of a complex subject DP or part of an object XP are the exception.
As shown in Tables (30) and (37), the verb erroneously agrees with a (semi-)local
plural noun from within the subject DP in 70 out of 76 cases, and with a (semi-)
local plural noun from within an object XP in 57 out of 63 cases. Taken together,
this means that the erroneous agreement controller is specified for plural in 91.4%
of theseerrors.
Two of the few exceptions to this pattern are given in (44). In (44a), the verb
agrees with the singular noun Familie (family) which is part of a prepositional
modifier within the subject DP. In contrast, in (44b), the local singular noun
Freund (boyfriend) which triggers erroneous agreement is contained within the
direct objectDP.
(44) a. [die Angabe-n
ber seine Familie] entsprich-t,

the statement-pl about his family
be.in.accordance.with-3.sg,


entsprech-en
nicht der Wahrheit
be.in.accordance.with-3.pl not the truth

Thestatementsabouthisfamilyarenotinaccordancewiththetruth.

b. weil
ihre Eltern
dann endlich [ihren neuen Freund]

because her parents.pl then finally her
new
boyfriend


kennenlern-en wird,
h, werd-en
get.to.know-inf will.3.sg, er, will-3.pl

becauseherparentswillfinallymeethernewboyfriendthen.

Bock & Eberhard (1993), Nicol (1995), and Eberhard (1997) claim that the
observed bias receives a straightworward explanation by assuming that there is
an asymmetry in the grammatical representation underlying singular and plural count nouns. The authors propose that the asymmetry is due to plural nouns
possessing a grammatical feature for number that singular nouns lack. Thus, verb
agreement is implemented by a mechanism which checks whether the head noun
of the subject phrase possesses a number feature. If there is no such feature (as in
the case of singular nouns), the mechanism interprets the head noun as singular
by default and a singular verb is retrieved. In contrast, if there is an activated number feature (as in the case of plural nouns), this information overrides the default
assignment and a plural verb will be retrieved. On this account, local plural nouns
may occasionally interfere in the agreement process because the mechanism

Morphosyntactic features in language production

inadvertently detects the plural feature on the local noun and retrieves a plural
verb. In contrast, singular local nouns are less likely to disrupt the agreement
process, since they do not possess a number feature which might interfere in the
establishment ofagreement.35
In DM terms, this means that singular nouns are not specified for number.
In other words, List 1 does not contain a morphosyntactic feature [pl]. Consequently, there is no such feature to be copied onto AgrS at MS. In case AgrS is void
of features when Vocabulary insertion takes place, the default Vocabulary item /-t/
(representing 3rd person singular) will be inserted. The Vocabulary items competing for insertion under the AgrS node in German are listed in(45).
(45) a. 
b. [1st]
c. [2nd]
d. [+pl]
e. [2nd][+pl]

/-t/
/-/
/-st/
/-n/
/-t/

For the SVA-errors, the line of reasoning is the same as sketched above: an intervening plural DP makes available a number feature (which may be copied onto
AgrS by mistake), while an intervening singular DP has no such feature to offer.
In the rare instances in which a verb happens to erroneously agree with a local
singular noun, we must assume that we are dealing with the unlikely case of a
copy failure, that is, no number feature at all is transmitted to the AgrS node and
consequently, the default item will be selected for insertion. Based on this line of
reasoning, in the remainder of this study, I will not specify the feature [pl] anymore in the tree structures and the Vocabulary items. Absence of a number feature
in a terminal node implies default singularspecification.36

. In her investigation, Eberhard (1997) somewhat refined Bock and Millers original experimental setting. For instance, she compared sentence preambles like the ones in (i) and (ii):

(i) The key to the cabinets


(ii) One key to the cabinets

Consistent with Bock and Millers investigation, her results showed that plural local nouns
elicited more agreement errors. In addition, however, she was able to show that plural nouns
are less likely to elicit erroneous agreement when the head noun is explicitly marked as singular by a quantifier (as in (ii)) in comparison to when it remains unmarked by the determiner
the (as in (i)). Eberhard claims that this finding supports the hypothesis that the absence of
number marking for singular count nouns is a contributing factor in the asymmetry found
in SVA-errors.
. Further evidence for the prominence of the plural feature comes from defective agreement patterns in Belfast English reported by Henry (1995). In Belfast English, plural subjects

Grammar as Processor

Let me finally remind you that in nine of the local SVA-errors from my corpus, defective agreement is not due to the number feature but only to the person
feature. Five of these belong to the group of errors in which the verb agrees with
a local nominative DP (see Section 5.2.2.3); an example has been given in (39a).
In two other cases, a prepositional modifier within the subject DP contains a personal pronoun. In (46a), for instance, the second person feature of the local singular dative pronoun dir has been copied onto the adjacent verb. In other words, the
local pronoun is singular but the head noun Nachricht (message) is singular,too.
(46) a. [die

the

Nachricht von dir]


hast,
h, hat
mich
message from 2.sg.dat have.2.sg, er, have.3.sg me

erstaun-t
surprise-part

Themessagefromyouhassurprisedme.

b. weil
ich seit Tag-en [diese Schei-firma] anzuruf-en versuch-t

because I for day-pl this shit-company call-inf
try-3.sg

becauseIvebeentryingtocallthisdamnedcompanyfordays.

weil
ich anzuruf-en versuch-e
because I
call-inf
try-1.sg

Finally, there are two slips in which the verb agrees in person with a local (pro)
noun from within a direct object. In (46b), the subject pronoun is specified for the
feature [1st]. The verb, however, agrees with the noun Firma (company). This case
is not only structurally different from (46a) in that the error source is contained
within a direct object DP; it also differs from (46a) with respect to what causes the
error. In (46a), the local pronoun is equipped with a feature that can be copied
onto AgrS, the feature [2nd]. In contrast, the local noun in (46b) is 3rd person

may optionally occur with singular verbs. The opposite pattern, that is, singular subjects occurring with plural verbs, however, is ungrammatical. Therefore, the sentences in (i) and (ii)
are grammatical, while (iii) is not (Henry 1995:16f).


(i) The students was late


(ii) The eggs is cracked
(iii) * The egg are cracked

If the insertion of singular verbs required the presence of a feature [pl], sentences (i) and (ii)
could not be explained. Obviously, in Belfast English, it is possible not to copy a [+pl] feature
onto AgrS. Whenever this happens, the verb will be spelled out in its default singular form.
In contrast, example (iii) is ungrammatical because in this case, the subject DP is unspecified
for number. Insertion of a plural verb, however, requires the presence of a plural feature (see
Mohammad (2000) for similar patterns of partial agreement in Arabic).

Morphosyntactic features in language production

singular, which implies that the terminal node only contains firma which brings
along its gender feature [f]. Hence, in this particular error, as in (44) above, we
must assume that defective agreement is due to copy failure and that the default
Vocabulary item /-t/ is inserted into an empty AgrSnode.
5.2.2.6 Morphosyntactic factors: Case and gender
In this and the following section, I want to briefly discuss further factors that might
have an influence on the occurrence of subject-verb agreement errors. I will start
this discussion by looking at two morphosyntactic factors: the effect of overt case
marking on the local noun and the effect of gender of the head noun. With respect
to the former, the relevant question is whether the combination of the error source
(the local noun) and the inflected verb when looked at in isolation would make
for a grammatically well-formedstring.
Obviously, in English with its rather poor case system, such a situation is
much more likely to occur. Generally, the case feature of a full noun phrase is not
morphophonologically visible, that is, the phonological surface form of a constituent which is not the sentential subject does not indicate its non-subject status. For
illustration consider the examples in (47). (47a) is a spontaneous SVA-error (Francis 1986:314). In this error, the verb make agrees with the local plural noun figures.
Note that in isolation, the bracketed string [all these figures make them harder to
understand] could be interpreted as a grammatical sentence, since the DP these figures has the same phonological form in the dative and in the nominative. The same
is true for basically all of the sentences that were elicited in the various experiments reported in Section 5.2.1. In (47b) one of the sentences elicited by Bock &
Miller (1991) the bracketed string [the babies were small] is grammatical when
considered inisolation.
(47) a. thesheerweightof[allthesefiguresmakethemhardertounderstand]

thesheerweightofallthesefiguresmakesthem
b. theblanketon[thebabiesweresmall]

Things are quite different in German with its comparably rich case system. Within
German DPs, case is marked on determiners, adjectives and quantifiers, and
sometimes on the noun. Consequently, in local SVA-errors, the combination of
the error source and the verb would not usually pass for a grammatical string. In
(48a), the reflexive verb richten (depend) agrees with the plural noun Zahlungen
(payments) contained in a genitive modifier. Due to the fact that the possessive
pronoun within this modifier is overtly marked for genitive case, the DP cannot
be interpreted as being nominative and consequently, the string within brackets is
ungrammatical in contrast to those in (47). The same holds for (48b) where the
verb entsprechen (comply with) agrees with the preverbal plural object Vorgaben

Grammar as Processor

(requirements). In this error, the object noun is accompanied by a definite determiner that is overtly marked for dative case. Hence, the bracketed part cannot be
interpreted as a subject-verbcombination.
(48) a. die Hhe [mein-er Unterhaltszahlung-en
richt-en
sich nach

the size my-gen.pl maintenance.payment-pl depend-3.pl refl on

der Hhe mein-er


Einknft-e]
the size my-gen.pl income-pl

die Hhe mein-er


Unterhaltszahlung-en
richt-et
sich
the size my-gen.pl maintenance.payment-pl depend-3.sg refl

Thesizeofmymaintenancepaymentsdependsonthesizeofmyincome.

b. weil
die Lnge sein-er
Haar-e nicht [den

because the length his-gen.pl hair-pl not the.dat.pl

Vorgabe-n
entsprech-en]
weil
die Lnge nicht
requirement-pl comply.with-pl because the length not

entspricht
comply.with.3.sg

becausethelengthofhishairdoesnotcomplywiththerequirements.

In a number of experiments, it has been shown that overt case marking on the
local noun does indeed have an influence on the occurrence of SVA-errors
(Hartsuiker et al. 2001; Hartsuiker, Schriefers, Bock & Kikstra 2003; Nicol &
Antn-Mndez, in press). Using Dutch sentence preambles, Hartsuiker et al.
(2001) found that erroneous agreement of the verb with a preceding object pronoun was more likely when the pronominal object was ambiguously case-marked
(as, for instance, the plural pronoun ze (they/them) which can be nominative
or accusative). In fact, these ambiguously case-marked pronouns caused as many
SVA-errors as the corresponding full NPs (for instance, de autos (thecars)).
Even more interesting in the present context is an experiment conducted
by Hartsuiker et al. (2003), because they used German preambles consisting
of a complex subject DP. This complex DP consisted of a definite article and a
noun (the head noun), followed by a prepositional phrase that included a preposition and a noun phrase (the local noun phrase). Two different prepositions
were used, one assigning dative case, the other one assigning accusative case.
Crucially, the plural accusative determiner (die) is homophonous with the plural nominative determiner. In other words, in the plural, dative local nouns are
not case-ambiguous but local accusative nouns are. This is illustrated in (49). In
(49b), the local plural DP [die Demonstrationen] is ambiguous between accusative and nominative, while the local plural DP in (49a) is unambiguously dative
(Hartsuiker et al. 2003: 1318). This implies that the combination of the local

Morphosyntactic features in language production

plural DP in (49b) with a plural verb can be misinterpreted as a grammatical


string, as is shown in(49c).
(49) a.

die
Stellungnahme zu den
Demonstration-en
the.f.nom.sg position(f)
on the.dat.pl demonstration-pl
thepositiononthedemonstrations

b. die
Stellungnahme gegen die
Demonstration-en

the.f.nom.sg position(f)
against the.acc.pl demonstration-pl

thepositionagainstthedemonstrations
c.

(gegen) [die
Demonstration-en
(against) the.nom/acc.pl demonstration-pl
(against)thedemonstrationsareuseless

sind sinnlos]
be.pl useless

In the experiment, erroneous local agreement was observed reliably only in the condition with singular head nouns and case-ambiguous local plural nouns. This result
suggests that case marking can have an effect on the occurrence ofSVA-errors.37
While the results from these studies, that is, from controlled settings, allow
for safe conclusions about the role of case marking in SVA-errors, the same is not
true for the spontaneous data analyzed in the present study. Browsing through the
corpus, it appears that there are only few errors with case-ambiguous local nouns.
Let us first look at those slips in which the verb agrees with a local noun that is
part of a complex subject DP (see Section 5.2.2.1). These slips come in two types.
First, there are 43 errors in my corpus in which the local noun is contained within
a genitive modifier. In all of these cases, the local noun phrase is overtly marked
for genitive case (see (48a) above). Secondly, in 33 errors, the local noun is part of a
prepositional phrase (see (26b) above). In only three of these errors, the local plural NP can be considered case-ambiguous. It is noteworthy, that in all three cases,
the PP contains a bare noun; that is, none of these errors parallels the structure of
(49b). One example is given in (50a). In this error, the copula agrees with the local

. Nicol and Antn-Mndez (in press) were able to demonstrate that the presence of overt
case-marking of a local NP also affects the incidence of SVA-errors in English. In their experiment, they also used complex subject DPs in which the head noun is followed by a prepositional phrase. In one condition, the PP contained a full NP (i), in the other condition, it
contained a case-marked pronoun (ii).

(i)
(ii)

The bill from the accountants ___ reasonable.


The bill from them ___ reasonable.

Subjects were asked to fill in the copula verb (note that Nicol and Antn-Mndez tested singular
and plural local (pro)nouns). The results indicate that plural pronouns induced substantially
fewer errors than full NPs; that is, subjects were significantly more likely to produce an SVAerror like The bill from the accountants were reasonable than The bill from them were reasonable.

Grammar as Processor

plural noun Soldaten (soldiers), which is assigned dative case by the preposition
(also in contrast to (49b)). It is only due to the lack of a determiner that the bracketed string could be misinterpreted as a grammatical sequence which has Soldaten
as itssubject.
(50) a. eine Gruppe von [Soldat-en
sind
in dem
Film

a
group of
soldier-pl.dat be.3.pl in the.dat movie

draufgegangen]
bite.the.dust.part

eine Gruppe ist


in dem
Film draufgegangen
a
group be.3.sg in the.dat movie bite.the.dust.part

Agroupofsoldiershasbittenthedustinthemovie.

b. dass die Theorie [verschiedene Erklrung-en


ermglich-en]

that the theory different
explanation-pl make.possible-3.pl

dass die Theorie verschiedene Erklrung-en ermglich-t


that the theory different
explanation-pl make.possible-3.sg

thatthetheoryallowsfordifferentexplanations.

Things are somewhat different for the cases in which the verb erroneously agrees
with a noun from within an object XP, be it an (in)direct object or a PP adjunct (see
Section 5.2.2.2). My corpus contains 63 errors of this type. In 13 of these errors,
the local NP, which is assigned accusative case by the verb or the preposition,
is potentially case-ambiguous. For illustration, consider the example in (50b), in
which the verb agrees with the plural direct object verschiedene Erklrungen (different explanations). However, in this error (as well as in another eight errors),
an important reservation has to be made: while the bracketed sequence in (50b)
might pass for a grammatical sentence beginning (the NP being misinterpreted as
nominative), it does not pass for a grammatical sentence in contrast to (49c) and
(50a) because one argument ismissing.38

. All of these nine errors occur in embedded clauses. The remaining four errors are structurally different in that they involve agreement of the verb with a preverbal object in a matrix
clause (see (35) for examples). Notably, in all four slips, we observe self-correction immediately after production of the verb.
Another factor that becomes relevant in SVA-errors in embedded clauses is word order.
Actually, there is a fair number of errors in my corpus in which the local object NP is caseambiguous but in which a potential misinterpretation is prevented by the presence of a
sentence-final auxiliary in combination with a participial. This phenomenon is illustrated in
(i). The NP seine Kumpels (his buddies) is case-ambiguous (nom/acc) but the following participial excludes the nominative interpretation.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

In sum, the scarcity of SVA-errors in my corpus which involve case-ambiguous


local nouns is quite striking in light of the results from the previously discussed
experiments. We must keep in mind, however, that spontaneous data are not reliable in this respect. In particular, perceptual bias may have an impact on the error
distribution. For instance, it is not unlikely that slips with case-ambiguous local
nouns are more easily overheard, while errors with unambiguously case-marked
local nouns are more perceptuallysalient.
So far, we have only been concerned with a morphosyntactic feature of the
local noun. The second morphosyntactic factor I wish to consider is related
to the head noun. Based on experimental results reported in Hartsuiker et al.
(2003), it is worthwhile looking at the gender of the head noun. Remember that
in German, the definite feminine singular determiner die is homophonous with
the plural determiner. In the first experiment conducted by Hartsuiker et al.
(2003), all head nouns and local nouns were accompanied by definite determiners (see (49)). Their results indicate that SVA-errors occur much more frequently
with feminine head nouns than with head nouns of masculine or neuter gender
(feminine: 5.1%; masculine: 0.7%; neuter: 0.0%). They relate this finding to the
fact that the determiner accompanying feminine nouns is ambiguous between
singular andplural.39


(i)

dass sein Vater sein-e Kumpel-s rausgeschmissen hab-en


that his father his-pl buddy-pl kick.out.part
have-pl

dass sein Vater rausgeschmissen hat


that his father kick.out.part
have.3.sg

that his father has kicked out his buddies.

. In addition, Hartsuiker et al. (2003) designed an experiment involving Dutch sentence


preambles. Dutch has a two-gender system; het is the singular definite determiner for neuter
nouns, de is the singular definite determiner for common nouns. Moreover, de is used with
all plural nouns, irrespective of gender. The key result of this experiment was that local
SVA-errors were restricted to sentence preambles like (i) in which the singular head noun
is accompanied by the number-ambiguous determiner de (and followed by a plural noun, of
course). In contrast, preambles with neuter head nouns such as (ii) elicited almost no SVAerrors (common: 7.2%; neuter: 0.3%; Hartsuiker et al. 2003:1322).

(i)

de
straat
bij de
kerk-en
the.c street(c) near the.pl church-pl
the street near the churches

(ii)

het plein
bij de
kerk-en
the.n square(n) near the.pl church-pl
the square near the churches

Grammar as Processor

The local SVA-errors from my corpus show a somewhat less dramatic but still
similar distribution. For the sake of comparison, I only considered SVA-errors in
which the verb agrees with a plural noun from within a complex subject DP. There
are 70 errors of this type in my corpus. All singular head nouns are accompanied
by a determiner; the distribution of determiners is given in(51).
(51) Determiners accompanying singular head noun in localSVA-errors
Type of determiner

Number of SVA-errors

definite feminine (die)


definite masculine (der)
definite neuter (das)
indefinite (ein/eine)
others

38
10
12
7
3

Total

70

Apparently, local SVA-errors are most likely to occur when the head noun is
accompanied by a number-ambiguous determiner (note that the others category
includes a demonstrative pronoun, a possessive pronoun, and aquantifier).
In conclusion of this section, I want to briefly consider the results from a
Distributed Morphology point of view. As far as case marking of the local noun
is concerned, we only find few cases in the spontaneous data in which the local
DP is ambiguously case-marked. Remember that case-ambiguity is based on
the phonological form of the local DP. This implies that the errors occur at a
point in the derivation at which the phonological surface form of the string has
not yet been specified. Hence, we must conclude that these errors occur at MS,
that is, before Vocabulary insertion takes place. Obviously, the fact that at this
point, case has already been assigned does not prevent the selection of the local
non-nominative DP as source for feature copy. Things get more complicated when
we take into account the results from the experimental studies which indicate that
case-ambiguity does facilitate the occurrence of local SVA-errors. Given that caseambiguity is a PF phenomenon, this tendency cannot be explained when we stick
to the DM assumption that the utterance is not yet phonologically specified when
feature copy takesplace.
The same holds for the second pattern described in this section. In both the
experimental and the spontaneous data, a local SVA-error is more likely to occur
when the determiner accompanying the head noun is number-ambiguous. As
before, this ambiguity is phonological in nature and is therefore only manifest at
PF. At MS, the determiner position is only specified for the features [f] and [+def].
I therefore have to conclude that this pattern does not receive a straightforward
explanation inDM.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

5.2.2.7 Morphophonological factor: Zero-marking


Bock & Eberhard (1993) used the experimental setting developed by Bock &
Miller (1991) sentence preambles containing a head and a local noun mismatching in number in order to evaluate the possible influence of other factors on
the occurrence of SVA-errors. First, they addressed morphophonological factors.
They argue that the fact that regular plural inflection on nouns is homophonous
with 3rd person singular inflection on verbs might have an impact, the line of
reasoning being that the presence of one inflectional suffix might preclude the
presence of the other. In one of their experiments, pseudo plurals, that is, singular
forms which end in /s/ or /z/ (like cruise), were used as local nouns in order to test
whether these, too, increase the rate of SVA-errors. The results indicate that this
factor does not have an impact: just like unambiguous singular local nouns, local
pseudo plurals did not induce any agreement errors.40
A morphophonological factor that might play a role in the spontaneous
German data is zero-marking of plurals. German has five different plural suffixes
(-e, -(e)n, -er, -s, and -), three of which may be accompanied by umlaut. It is
therefore interesting to investigate whether there are errors in which the singular
head noun does have a zero-marked plural and might therefore be misinterpreted
as plural on morphophonological grounds. In my corpus there a four such errors
(out of a total of 149 local SVA-errors); one of these is given in (52a). Note that the
combination of the head noun Artikel (article) and the plural copula sind is grammatical. In this and the other three errors, however, a quantifier or determiner
clearly specifies the head noun assingular.
(52) a. [jeder Artikel in diesen Katalog-en] sind
total berteuert

every article in these catalogue-pl be.3.pl totally overpriced

jeder Artikel ist


total
berteuert
every article be.3.sg totally overpriced

Everyarticleinthesecataloguesistotallyoverpriced.

b. [die Mehrheit der


Amerikaner] sind
fr die Todesstrafe

the majority the.gen.pl American.pl be.3.pl for the death.penalty

die Mehrheit ist


fr die Todesstrafe
the majority be.3.sg for the death.penalty

ThemajorityofAmericansisforthedeathpenalty.

. A similar phenomenon is held responsible by Stemberger & MacWhinney (1986) for


another type of error. In one of their experiments, they found out that zero-marking errors on
present tense verbs, that is, omissions of the inflectional ending (for example, choose instead of
chooses), occur almost exclusively when the verb already ends in a /s/ or a /z/.

Grammar as Processor

As before, the low number of errors in which this factor might play a role does
not allow for any safe conclusions since we are dealing with spontaneous data. It
is interesting to note, however, that there are more than three times as many errors
in my corpus (n = 13) in which the local plural noun is zero-marked. In (52b),
for instance, the local plural noun Amerikaner (Americans) contained in a genitive modifier has the same form in the singular. Clearly, and as predicted by DM,
overt plural marking on the noun is not a prerequisite for SVA-errors tooccur.41
5.2.2.8 Semantic factors: Animacy and collectivity
In Section 5.2.1, I already briefly discussed the role of the semantic feature animacy in local SVA-errors. Experimental results from Bock & Miller (1991) and
Barker et al. (2001) indicate that only animacy of the head noun but not animacy
of the local noun has an impact on SVA-errors. In my corpus, there are 27 slips in
which head and local noun differ in animacy (note that I excluded from the count
errors in which one of the two was a pronoun). Some representative examples have
already been given above. Examples in which the head noun is inanimate but the
local noun animate are (28a), (50a), and (52b); a case in which the head noun is
animate but the local noun inanimate is (32b). For the readers convenience, in
(53), I list the nouns participating in these fourerrors.
(53) example headnoun
(28a) Reise(trip)
(50a) Gruppe(group)
(52b) Mehrheit(majority)
(32b) Arzt(doctor)

localnoun
Freunde(friends)
Soldaten(soldiers)
Amerikaner(Americans)
Nebenwirkungen(sideeffects)

In my corpus, errors in which only the local noun is animate (first three rows in
(53)) are twice as common as errors in which only the head noun is animate (last
row); there are 18 SVA-errors of the former and 9 of the latter type. Hence, the
distribution is different from the one found in the experiments mentioned above.
Moreover, the constellation animate head noun inanimate local noun is only
observed in errors in which the verb agrees with a local DP from within an object/
adjunct XP. In contrast, 16 out of 18 errors showing the opposite pattern are found

. Bock & Eberhard (1993) also investigate whether the morphology of regular plural
marking on nouns somehow contributes to agreement marking on the verb. If this was the
case, then agreement errors should be more unlikely after irregularly inflected local nouns
(like children). The results, however, indicate that local nouns with irregular plural marking
cause as many SVA-errors as regularly inflected nouns. Again, this shows that abstract features
trigger the agreement operation. In my corpus, there are no SVA-errors involving irregularly
inflected plural nouns.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

in SVA-errors in which the verb agrees with a local DP from within a complex
subject DP. Based on this distribution, one may therefore conclude albeit with
some caution that in the spontaneous data that have a structure parallel to that
of the elicited errors, animacy does play a role: if both nouns within the complex
subject DP have different specifications for animacy, then it is always the local
noun that is animate. Note that within DM, a compositional semantic feature like
[+animate] is assumed to be present in the syntax (Marantz 1997). Consequently,
the fact that it has an influence on SVA-errors does not come as a surprise. What
remains unclear is why, at least in my corpus, this influence is only observed in one
type of SVA-error. I leave this question for furtherresearch.
Finally, Bock & Eberhard (1993) and Bock et al. (2001) considered yet another
possible semantic influence on SVA-errors. They note that some nouns are syntactically singular but represent a group of individuals, that is, they bear a plural
meaning (for instance, collective nouns like army or fleet). Bock and Eberhard
point out that collective nouns are polysemous in the sense that they refer to either
the individual entities they contain (distributive sense) or to an undifferentiated
whole (collective sense). If abstract features are indeed capable of influencing the
establishment of agreement, then it may be worthwhile to investigate whether the
semantic plural of a local noun, when interpreted in its distributive sense, facilitates agreement errors. Following this line of reasoning, local SVA-errors should
not only be observed after a sentence preamble with a local plural noun (54a) but
also following a preamble like (54b) with a local noun that is morphosyntactically
singular but semantically plural (Bock et al.2001:107).
(54) a. therecordoftheplayers
b. therecordoftheteam

The experimental results suggest that grammatically singular collective nouns have
no greater potential to cause a local SVA-error (in which the verb would appear in
its plural form) than grammatically singular individual nouns.42 Similarly, in my

. In addition, grammatically plural collectives (e.g., teams) elicited no more local SVAerrors than grammatically plural individual nouns (e.g., players) did. The influence of the conceptual number of a noun on SVA-errors was further investigated in a series of experimental
studies; see Bock et al. (1999), Eberhard (1999), and Haskell & MacDonald (2003) for English;
Berg (1998) for comparison of English and German; Bock et al. (2001) for comparison of
English and Dutch; Vigliocco et al. (1995) for Italian; Vigliocco, Butterworth & Garrett (1996)
for Spanish; and Vigliocco, Hartsuiker, Jarema & Kolk (1996) for French and Dutch.
The results from these studies show that the notional number of the local noun (individual versus collective) had no significant effect on verb number (see Bock, Butterfield, Cutler,
Cutting, Eberhard & Humphreys (2006) for a comparison of British and American English).

Grammar as Processor

corpus, there is not a single SVA-error in which a verb would show up in its plural
form in the context of a local singular collectivenoun.
However, singular collective nouns might play another role in local SVAerrors. Note that two of the head nouns listed in (53), namely Gruppe (group)
and Mehrheit (majority), are syntactically singular but semantically plural. Possibly, the combination of a singular collective head noun with a plural local noun
increases the likelihood of an error, due to the creation of a stronger plural atmosphere. In my corpus, there are seven errors of this type, three of which have
already been cited in (29a), (50a), and (52b). Just like (52b), the error in (55) is
particularly interesting because it combines two of the properties discussed in this
section: the head noun Menge (amount) is a singular collective noun and the local
plural noun Fehler (mistakes) iszero-marked.43
(55) [die Menge der
Fehler]
sind
echt
unglaublich
the amount the.gen.pl mistake.pl be.3.pl really unbelievable
die Menge ist
echt unglaublich
the amount be.3.sg really unbelievable
Theamountoferrorsisreallyunbelievable.

In a series of experiments, Bock & Cutting (1992) and Haskell & MacDonald
(2003) were able to demonstrate that collectivity of the head noun does indeed
increase the likelihood of an SVA-error. In other words, production of a pluralmarked verb is more likely following a sentence preamble like The jury at the trials
than following The judge at the trials (Bock & Cutting1992).
In a sense, the spontaneous data pattern with the experimental findings. We
do not observe slips in which erroneous subject-verb agreement is triggered by a
local singular collective noun, but there is a small number of SVA-errors in which
a singular collective head noun is followed by a local plural noun. However, while
the experimental analyses reveal a main effect of collectivity, such that collective
. In addition, there are seven slips in my corpus in which the local plural noun displays
another type of semantic plurality in that it does not have a singular form. The relevant local
nouns are Eltern (parents; four instances), Leute (people; two instances), and Gebrder
(brothers). An example in which the verb agrees with the local noun Eltern contained in a
genitive modifier is given in (i). Note that in two SVA-errors, Eltern is not contained within
the complex subject DP but is a direct object.

(i) [die Kche meiner
Eltern] knn-en, h, kann
einen neuen Anstrich
the kitchen my.gen.pl parents can-3.pl, er, can.3.sg a
new painting

gebrauch-en
use-inf

My parents kitchen could use a new painting.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

head nouns elicited more plural verbs than non-collective heads, no such conclusion can be drawn on basis of the spontaneous data. First, in the controlled
experimental settings, the number of collective and non-collective head nouns
was balanced. In contrast, in spontaneous speech, non-collective nouns are probably much more frequent than collective ones. Second, as already mentioned in
the discussion of (29a), the combination of a singular collective noun with a plural
verb may be more likely to go unnoticed because the resulting utterance tends to
sound less deviant than one in which a singular non-collective noun combines
with a plural verb (consider, for instance, the English example a number of paintings were notsold).44
5.2.2.9 Summary
With that, all types of local SVA-errors from my corpus have been described.
Table (56) serves as a synopsis of the different error types and their distribution.
The comparison of the spontaneous data to those elicited in various experiments
reveals two interesting findings. First, in most of the experiments, use was made
of complex subjects DPs in which head noun and local noun mismatch in number. Those errors from my corpus that have a comparable structure show properties similar to the elicited ones in that the verb agrees with a local plural noun
in most of the cases (92.1%). Second, we also find spontaneous errors that are
structurally different from those elicited in the English experiments. These are the
slips in which the verb erroneously agrees with a local noun contained within an
object DP or PP. Again, in most of these errors (90.5%), the local noun is specified
for plural. The existence of such errors can be attributed to the different syntactic
structure of German (as also evidenced by the fact that similar errors were elicited
in experiments using Dutch elicitation materials). In particular, in German and
Dutch, but not in English, objects frequently precede theverb.

. Just like Barker et al. (2001) (see Footnote 22), Pittman (2004) and Pittman & Smyth
(2005) investigated the effect of the predicate on SVA-errors. In their experiments, they did
not only manipulate the number of the head and the local noun but also properties of the
predicate. In particular, they compared sentence preambles in which the adjectival predicate is plausible with both nouns in the complex subject phrase (i) with preambles in which
the predicate is plausible solely with the head noun (ii).

(i) The boy by the trees tall


(ii) The boy by the trees playful

In contrast to Barker et al. (2001), they found that more agreement errors occurred in the
condition in which the local noun would also be a plausible subject for the predicate (also see
Thornton & MacDonald 2003).

Grammar as Processor

(56) Distribution of local SVA-errors (n =163)


Error source
Erroneous agreement of verb with
noun from within complex subject DP
noun from within object DP or PP
intervening nominative DP
intruding DP in a blend
Total

singular

plural

6
6
6
8

70
57
4
6

26

137

The striking prominence of the plural feature in the elicited and the spontaneous SVA-errors has been accounted for by assuming that only plural nouns come
with a number feature that can interfere in the agreement process. Other factors that might facilitate the occurrence of a spontaneous SVA-errors (and that
were also tested in various experiments) are gender of the singular head noun,
animacy of the local plural noun, and collectivity of the head noun. In contrast,
case-ambiguity of the local noun and zero-marking of plurality on the head noun
do not appear to increase the likelihood of an SVA-error. Remember, however,
that, given the nature of spontaneous data, all of these potential facilitating factors have to be taken with a pinch ofsalt.
In addition, Table (56) lists two less frequent types of SVA-errors. First, a
verb may agree with an intervening nominative DP which is part of a comparative construction. From the numbers, it seems as if in these errors, the error
source was more likely to be singular. This distribution, however, is due to the
fact that for the most part, it is only the person feature which causes these errors.
Secondly, SVA-errors may be observed in blends. Remember, however, that
strictly speaking, these errors are not local SVA-errors. Rather, the verb agrees
with the subject DP from a competing planning frame. Hence, out of a total of
163 SVA-errors, only 149 can be considered localerrors.
5.2.3 Transformations and feature copy
In Section 2.2.3, I have already discussed psycholinguistic studies which are
concerned with the psychological reality of syntactic transformations. Fay
(1980a,b), for instance, reports a number of errors which, according to him,
are best analyzed as the result of either a wrong or a non-application of some
transformational rule. Consider, for example, the spontaneous slip in (57) (Fay
1980b:114).
(57) Lookatthosecloudsaremoving[howfast]
Lookathowfastthosecloudsaremoving

Morphosyntactic features in language production

Fay (1980b) takes this error to be the result of a failure in applying a transformational rule, namely the wh-fronting rule. As a consequence, the wh-phrase
how fast appears in its deep structure position. Fay claims that the position of
the wh-phrase in the error follows naturally from a transformational account,
since an element not moved by a transformation must remain in its deep
structureposition.
The impact of syntactic transformations on speech errors that I will be
concerned with in this section is of a different nature. In the following, I will
investigate further the syntactic properties of the local SVA-errors introduced
in the previous section by looking at the interaction of movement operations
and agreement feature copy. In particular, I will try to evaluate whether the DM
assumption that the implementation of agreement nodes and subsequent agreement feature copy takes place after syntax (Halle & Marantz 1993) is supported
by the errordata.
In the model of language production sketched in Section 3.1, agreement is
assumed to be computed at the level of grammatical encoding (that is, at the
functional level). At this level, lemmas are retrieved from the mental lexicon
and are assigned to slots in a hierarchical structure. That processing stage is followed by the stage of phonological encoding at which the phonological form of
a sentence is spelled out (Garrett 1975, 1980a; Levelt 1989). As we have seen, the
course of processing as assumed in the production model is compatible with DM
ideas, since in DM, too, the assignment of phonological forms (Vocabulary items)
follows all processes of grammatical encoding. Pictures diverge, however, with
regard to the precise locus of agreement computation. Within many syntactic and
psycholinguistic theories (Chomsky 1981; Kempen & Hoenkamp 1987; Levelt
1989), agreement relations are taken to be established during the construction of
the hierarchical structure. In contrast, DM endorses late insertion of agreement
nodes. Agreement nodes are adjoined to functional nodes at the level of Morphological Structure, that is, after syntactic operations have taken place but before
Vocabulary insertion isexecuted.
This assumption has important consequences for the interpretation of
speech error data. In particular, a DP which is local to a verb (or to AgrS) at
deep structure may be separated from that verb by a syntactic movement operation. The DP would then no longer be local to the verb when agreement feature copy takes place at Morphological Structure. Alternatively, a DP may be
more local to the verb at surface structure, that is, after movement operations
have applied. Linear proximity of a verb and a DP is, of course, not a prerequisite
for agreement processes to take place. The only prerequisite is a certain structural relation (Spec-head agreement) between agreement controller and agreement target at some point in the derivation. Above, I already pointed out that

Grammar as Processor

occasionally, linear proximity may supersede syntactic distance between controller and target. As far as SVA-errors are concerned, my hypothesis is that linear proximity between erroneous agreement controller and verb must be given
at surface structure, since agreement features are copied after syntactic movement has takenplace.
In order to test this hypothesis, I will only consider SVA-errors in which the
verb erroneously agrees with a plural DP that is either part of a complex subject DP or part of an object DP/PP. In my corpus there are 70 slips of the former
and 57 slips of the latter type (see Table (56)). The following discussion is divided
into two parts. I will first look at local SVA-errors in embedded clauses (Section
5.2.3.1) before discussing the locality patterns observed in local SVA-errors in
matrix clauses (Section 5.2.3.2). The summary of the findings for these two data
sets (Section 5.2.3.3) is followed by a brief discussion of SVA-errors in polar questions (Section5.2.3.4).
5.2.3.1 Local SVA in embedded clauses
Out of the 127 local SVA-errors under investigation, 64 (50.4%) are observed in
embedded clauses. As is well-known, word order in German embedded clauses
(SOV) is commonly assumed to be the underlying word order (Thiersch 1978;
Grewendorf 1988). Consequently, in most of the embedded clause errors from my
corpus, no XP-movement has applied except for movement of the subject DP
from SpecVP (or SpecvP) to SpecTnsP, which, however, does not alter the locality
patterns within the embedded clause. This is illustrated by the examples in (58). In
(58a), the (zero-marked) plural DP Hrer (listeners), a genitive modifier within
the complex subject DP, is local to the verb at deep and at surface structure. That is,
at neither of the two levels, another DP would be (linearly) closer to the verb. Similarly, in (58b), the verb agrees with the preceding plural direct object Erklrungen
(explanations) within the embedded clause. Again, the locality patterns are the
same at deep and surfacestructure.
(58) a. dass [der Geschmack der
Hrer]
extrem schlecht sind

that the taste
the.gen.pl listener.pl extremely bad
be.3.pl

dass der Geschmack extrem


schlecht ist
that the taste
extremely bad
be.3.sg

thatthetasteofthelistenersisextremelybad.

b. dass die Theorie verschiedene Erklrung-en ermglich-en



that the theory different
explanation-pl make.possible-3.pl

dass die Theorie verschiedene Erklrung-en ermglich-t


that the theory different
explanation-pl make.possible-3.sg

thatthetheoryallowsfordifferentexplanations.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

Actually, out of the 64 SVA-errors in embedded clauses, only three are informative in the present context because in only three errors, the locality patterns are
different at deep and surface structure. In two of these, the verb agrees with a
local plural DP within the subject DP, but an object phrase has been scrambled
to pre-subject position. Crucially, before scrambling, the object phrase which,
in both cases, contains a singular DP intervenes between the subject and the
verb. For illustration, consider the example in (59a). Presumably, in this example, the object PP beim Lernen (for learning) containing a nominalized verb
follows the complex subject DP at deep structure, as indicated in the simplified
bracketed deep structure in (59a). Above, I have pointed out that occasionally,
a verb agrees with a semi-local plural DP (see (28) and (34a) for examples).
This implies that in principle, an SVA-error might have occurred in (59a) even
without scrambling of the PP. What is crucial about this error, however, is that
the plural noun Netze (networks) is semi-local to the verb at deep structure but
local at surfacestructure.
(59) a. weil
beim Lernen [die Beteiligung komplexer

because for.the learning the involvement complex.gen.pl

Neuronen-netz-e] notwendig sind


neural-network-pl necessary be.3.pl

weil
beim Lernen die Beteiligung notwendig ist
because for.the learning the involvement necessary be.3.sg

becausetheinvolvementofcomplexneuralnetworksisnecessary
forlearning.
b. weil
da
oft
ber Sache-n ge-rede-t

because expl often about thing-pl part-talk-part

wurd-en,
die
fr seine Arbeit wichtig
sind
be.pass.past-3.pl which for his work important be.3.pl

weil
da geredet
wurd-e
because expl part-talk-part be.pass.past-3.sg

becauseoften,itwastalkedaboutthingsthatareimportantforhiswork.

(59) a. [CPweil[TnsPdieBeteiligungkomplexerNeuronennetze[VPbeimLernen


notwendigsind]]]
b. [CPweil[TnsPdaoft[VPberSachen[CPdiefrseineArbeitwichtigsind]
geredetwurden]]]

The slip in (59b) has different characteristics. In this slip, the passive auxiliary
agrees with the plural DP Sachen (things) contained in a PP-adjunct. Due to the
extraposed relative clause, this plural DP is proximal to the verb only at surface
structure. As for extraposition, I follow Bring & Hartmann (1995) who argue that
the relative clause is right-adjoined to IP (or TnsP). Hence, at deep structure, the

Grammar as Processor

relative clause intervenes between the plural DP and the verb and consequently,
the singular DP Arbeit (work) is closest to the verb at that level. This is illustrated
in (59b) where the intervening relative clause isunderlined.
5.2.3.2 Local SVA in matrix clauses
Obviously, errors in matrix clauses are more informative when it comes to evaluating the locality patterns at deep versus surface structure because all German
matrix clauses are assumed to involve Tns-to-C movement of the verb followed
by movement of some XP to preverbal position. In my corpus, 63 out of 127 local
SVA-errors (49.6%) are attested in matrix clauses. For these errors, three different
locality patterns have to be distinguished. First, the error source may be local to
the verb at deep and surface structure. Second, the error source may only be local
to the verb at surface structure. Finally, there are also a few cases in which different
plural DPs are local to the verb at deep and surfacestructure.
In my error collection, there are 27 instances of matrix clause errors in which
the error source is local to the verb before and after XP-movement has applied. 22
of these are cases in which the verb agrees with a plural DP inside a complex subject DP, while only five are slips in which the verb agrees with a plural DP within
an object phrase. The error in (60a) exemplifies the former type of error. In this
error, the passive auxiliary agrees with the (zero-marked) plural noun Gemlde
(paintings). (60b) is an instance of the less frequent latter type. Here, the modal
verb agrees with the pre-verbal plural object Resultate(results).
(60) a. [der Wert der
Gemlde] werd-en
nicht,

the value the.gen.pl painting.pl be.pass-3.pl not,

wird
nicht bekannt gegeben
be.pass.3.sg not known part-give-part

Thevalueofthepaintingswillnotbedisclosed.

b. die
Resultat-e knn-en, h, kann
ich dir
noch nicht

the.pl result-pl can-3.pl, er, can.1.sg I 2.sg.dat yet not

sag-en
tell-inf

Icannottellyoutheresultsyet.

An interesting property of the errors in (60) is that in both cases, the DP which
passes on its number feature to the verb is more local, that is, adjacent to the
verb at surface structure. Although no other DP intervenes at deep structure,
additional material separates the error source and the verb. This is illustrated in
the simplified bracketed deep structures in (60) in which the material that would
intervene at deep structure is underlined. In the syntax, both verbs raise to Tns

Morphosyntactic features in language production

and then to C.In (60a), the subject subsequently raises from SpecTnsP to SpecCP,
while in (60b), it is the direct object which moves from within VP toSpecCP.
(60) a. [CPC0[TnsPderWertderGemlde[VPnichtbekanntgegebenwerden]]]
b. [CPC0[TnsPich[VPdirdieResultatenochnichtsagenknnen]]]

More illuminating are, of course, cases in which the erroneous agreement source
is local to the verb only at surface structure because a singular DP would intervene between the error source and the verb at deep structure. In my corpus, there
are 30 such cases. In 25 of these, we observe erroneous agreement of the verb with
a plural noun within a complex subject DP (61a), while in only five, the verb agrees
with a plural object after topicalization(61b).
(61) a. [die Lnge der
Stck-e] spiel-en eine wichtige Rolle

the length the.gen.pl stick-pl play-3.pl an important role

die Lnge spiel-t


eine wichtige Rolle
the length play-3.sg an important role

Thelengthofthesticksplaysanimportantrole.

b. den
Student-en woll-en,
h, will
er die Lsung

the.pl student-pl want-3.pl, er, want.3.sg he the solution


erst spter zeig-en


only later show-inf

Hewantstoshowthesolutiontothestudentsonlylater.

The bracketed structures in (61) illuminate the structural conditions at deep


structure. Note that in both examples, the material separating the plural noun
and the verb contains a singular noun: Rolle (role) in (61a) and Lsung (solution) in (61b). Therefore, it is only at surface structure that the respective plural
noun and the verb are adjacent to each other as a result of movement of a DP
toSpecCP.45

. The spontaneous English slip in (31), repeated below as (i), has similar properties. In this
error, wh-movement of the direct object has applied. Due to that movement operation, the
auxiliary to be appears adjacent to the plural noun things at surface structure (Levelt & Cutler
1983:206). At deep structure, however, adjacency of the error source things and the auxiliary
is not given, as is shown in (ii).

(i)
(ii)

What things are this kid, is this kid going to say correctly?
[CP C0 [TnsP this kid are going [VP to say what things correctly]]]

Grammar as Processor

(61) a. [CPC0[TnsPdieLngederStcke[VPeinewichtigeRollespielen]]]

b. [CPC0[TnsPer[VPdenStudentendieLsungerstspterzeigenwollen]]]

Finally, there are six more slips in my collection, in which different DPs are
local to the verb at deep and surface structure. The crucial difference to the
errors given in (61), however, is that both these DPs are specified for plural. In
all errors of this type, the verb erroneously agrees with a plural noun within a
complex subject DP. Consider, for example, the slip in (62a), in which the verb
agrees with the plural DP Studenten (students). As can be seen in the deep
structure representation in (62b), the material intervening between Studenten
and the verb contains another plural DP, namely Nerven(nerves).
(62) a. [das Genrgel der
Student-en] geh-en mir
manchmal

the nagging the.gen.pl student-pl go-3.pl 1.sg.dat sometimes

auf die Nerv-en das Genrgel geh-t


mir
on the nerve-pl the nagging go-3.sg 1.sg.dat

Sometimes,thenaggingofthestudentsannoysme.

b. [CP C0 [TnsP das Genrgel der Studenten [VP mir manchmal auf die Nerven
gehen]]]

Hence, in this slip, just as in the other five errors of this type, different plural DPs
are adjacent to the verb at deep and surface structure. In other words: at both
levels, a plural DP is more local to the verb than the singular head noun of the
complex subject DP, a characteristic which in a sense makes these errors comparable to the ones cited in (58) and(60).
5.2.3.3 Summary
Table (63) summarizes the locality patterns described in the previous sections
for the 127 slips under investigation, that is, slips in which the verb agrees with
a plural noun from within a complex subject DP or an object DP/PP. Obviously,
the label local SVA suggests that in all these errors, the error source is linearly closer to the verb than the head of the subject DP. In fact, in 88 out of
127 local SVA-errors (69.3%), the error source is local to the verb at deep and
surface structure. In addition, however, the distribution in Table (63) also shows
that in the 33 cases (25.9%) in which locality patterns differ at deep and surface
structure, the error source is local to the verb only at surface structure. In all
these cases, a singular DP would be linearly closer to the verb at deep structure. This pattern suggests that agreement is established after syntactic operations have been executed. As argued above, this is exactly the view taken by DM,
where agreement nodes are taken to be inserted at the postsyntactic level of
MorphologicalStructure.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

(63) Locality of error source at deep (DS) and surface structure (SS) (n =127)
Agreement of verb with noun
within

Error source Error source Different local


is local at DS is localonly pluralDPs at
at SS
DS and SS
and SS

in matrix clause
in embedded clause

22*
15

25
2

6
-

object dp/pp in matrix clause


in embeddedclause

5*
46

5
1

Total

88

33

subject dp

= error source is local at deep and surface structure, but more local at surfacestructure.

The distribution in (63) raises the question what an SVA-error could look like in
which a plural DP is local to the verb only at deep structure. Various scenarios
are possible. One of these would involve, at surface structure, a singular subject
DP preceding the verb, a plural object following the verb, and a verb that shows
up in its plural form. Clearly, in such a case, the plural noun would only be local
to the verb at deep structure. For the sake of illustration, in (64a), I give a hypothetical error that satisfies these requirements. At surface structure, the verb follows the singular subject Umsatz (turnover), while at deep structure, the plural
object Erwartungen (expectations) directly precedes the verb. My corpus does not
contain an error with comparable structural properties (see Section 5.2.3.4 for an
alternativescenario).46
(64) a. der Umsatz bertreff-en unser-e khnste-n Erwartungen

the turnover exceed-3.pl our-pl boldest-pl expectation-pl

der Umsatz bertriff-t


the turnover exceed-3.sg

Theturnoverexceedsourboldestexpectations.

b. weil
sie fast
wortgetreu dasselbe ti ge-sag-t
hast

because she almost literally
the.same part-say-part have.2.sg


[wie du]i
weil
sie dasselbe ge-sag-t
hat
as you(sg) because she the.same part-say-part have.3.sg
becauseshehassaidalmostliterallythesameyoudid.

. The only error that comes close is the one cited in (29a) above. Remember, however,
that I classified this error as a blend. Moreover, it is different from the one in (64a) in that it
occurred in a passive construction and involves a topicalized PP.

Grammar as Processor

Still, there is a single error in my collection which points in the opposite direction,
that is, an error in which the DP transmitting its plural feature appears to be local
to the verb only at deep structure. This error is not included in Table (63) because
it is not one of the 127 slips that were analyzed in the preceding sections. Rather,
it is one of the slips in which the verb agrees with a nominative DP from within
a comparative phrase (see Section 5.2.2.3). This error is given in (64b). In this
utterance, an embedded clause, the verb appears in its 2nd person singular form
although the subject pronoun is specified for 3rd person singular. The comparative
phrase wie du (as you) containing the responsible second person pronoun has
been extraposed out of an object DP, as indicated by the coindexed trace in (64b).
What makes this error peculiar with respect to linear proximity is that at both
deep and surface structure, one element intervenes between error source and verb:
at deep structure the participial, at surface structure the comparative particle wie.
Because of extraposition, however, the syntactic distance between the pronoun
and the verb is bigger at surfacestructure.
I conclude that the general picture that emerges is that the local SVA errors
from my corpus are compatible with DM assumptions concerning feature
copy. The data analysis reveals that in erroneous subject-verb agreement, the
verb either agrees with a DP which is local to it at deep and surface structure
or with a DP that is local at surface structure only. The data therefore support the idea that the implementation of agreement nodes is executed only
after syntactic movement operations have taken place, that is, at the level of
MorphologicalStructure.
5.2.3.4 A note on local SVA in polar questions
These remarks on local SVA-errors in polar questions follow the summary of locality patterns in spontaneous speech errors because actually, to date, my error corpus
does not contain a single SVA-error in a polar question. However, given experimental results by Vigliocco & Nicol (1998), it is worth to briefly discuss thisoption.
Remember from Section 5.2.2 that Vigliocco and Nicol were able to elicit
SVA-errors in polar questions, that is, in a configuration in which the verb precedes the subject. In the experiment, participants first saw an adjective like safe
and then a phrase like the helicopter for the flights. Their task was to form the
question Is/was the helicopter for the flights safe?. It turned out that the frequency
and distribution of SVA-errors was similar to the patterns found in declarative
sentences with complex subject DPs. In particular, participants produced agreement errors like Are the helicopter for the flights safe?. This is a striking finding
given that in this condition due to subject-auxiliary inversion the verb is
not local to the plural noun. Therefore, Vigliocco and Nicol hypothesize that
these errors arise as a consequence of syntactic proximity, that is, deep structure

Morphosyntactic features in language production

proximity. A surface structure representation for the erroneous response cited


above is given in(65).
According to DM, the auxiliary which is base-generated under Tns raises and
adjoins to C in the syntax and AgrS will be inserted as sister node of Tns at MS.
Obviously, the plural noun flights is not local to AgrS when copy of the agreement
feature takes place because the singular noun helicopter intervenes. The plural
noun is only local (adjacent) to the auxiliary before Tns-to-C movement applies
(as in The helicopter for the flights aresafe).
(65)

CP
TnsP

C
C

DP

Tns

[+] Tns
[]

AgrS
[+]

Tns
LP

D
[+] L

LP

PP
P
[for]

feature copy

tTns

DP
D

LP

[+]

[+]

Therefore, the agreement errors elicited by Vigliocco & Nicol (1998) appear not to be
consistent with the spontaneous speech error data from my corpus. I think, however,
that the validity of the experimental paradigm can be questioned. Given that, to the
best of my knowledge, there is no evidence for comparable spontaneous SVA-errors,
it does not seem unlikely that the participants use an agreement strategy that is different from the on-line strategy used in spontaneous speech. Remember that, in the
experiment, the participants knew that they were required to produce a question.
One may therefore hypothesize that they were already computing an inflected auxiliary for the sentence preamble while the preamble appeared on the computer screen
(duration: one second). After the preamble disappeared, they would then use that
auxiliary when forming the polar question. In other words: the participants were in
fact computing the auxiliary for the declarative sentence (in which the plural noun is
local to the verb) and not for the syntactic question structure given in(65).

Grammar as Processor

Consequently, the errors elicited by Vigliocco & Nicol (1998), as intriguing as


they are, do not represent clear counterevidence to the DM analysis sketched above
for the spontaneous speech errors. I therefore maintain that late insertion of agreement nodes at MS and subsequent feature copy can and should beassumed.
5.2.4 Local SVA and the Minimalist Program
The above discussion built on the assumption that subject agreement nodes are
only inserted at MS as sister nodes of Tns. As a consequence, AgrS does not project
and a Spec-head relation between SpecAgrS and AgrS is not required for the establishment of agreement. Rather, agreement involves feature copy from the subject
DP located in SpecTnsP onto AgrS. Note that Agr-to-Tns adjunction, originally
proposed in Halle & Marantz (1993), is also adopted in some versions of the Minimalist Program (MP; Chomsky 1995, 2000). Alternatively, however, there is an
independent node expressing subject agreement which, in the course of the derivation, attracts an appropriate DP into its specifier. Below, I will briefly sketch how
subject agreement is treated under the latter view. I will then discuss the results
of experimental studies on SVA-errors reported by Franck, Lassi, Frauenfelder &
Rizzi (2006) and Franck, Frauenfelder & Rizzi (2007). The authors claim that
structural properties which, according to the MP, play a role in the establishment
of SVA allow for an explanation of the observed errorpatterns.
According to the MP, the generation of syntactic structure involves three
distinct successive operations: MERGE, AGREE, and MOVE (also see Carstens
(2000)). The structure-building operation MERGE first builds a basic thematic
structure, including the verb and its arguments, before introducing additional
functional structure, that is, functional nodes like, for instance, Tns, Neg, and Asp.
Initially, the subject is merged in its thematic position within the VP (Koopman &
Sportiche 1991). Once the functional head AgrS is merged, AgrS enters into an
AGREE relation with the subject and the relevant features of the subject are copied
onto AgrS. At this point, the subject is still in its base position within VP. As far as
structural relations are concerned, it is assumed that AgrS, the probe of AGREE,
searches for a goal within its local domain of c-command, with the structural relation of c-command defined as in (66) (Chomsky2000).
(66) Xc-commandsYiffYisdominatedbythesisternodeofX.

Following feature copy, the verb will move to AgrS in order to receive its morphological specification for agreement. In SV-languages, the subject will subsequently
leave its base position within VP and move to SpecAgrS, thereby creating a local
Spec-head relationship between the moved subject and AgrS. Franck et al. (2006,
2007) suggest that in SV-structures, agreement features are checked twice: first,

Morphosyntactic features in language production

through AGREE, and secondly, under Spec-head agreement.47 The trees in (67),
adopted from Franck et al. (2006), illustrate the relevant structural configuration
before (67a) and after (67b) movement of the subject toSpecAgrS.
(67) a.

AgrSP
AgrS

Spec
AgrS

VP
Subj
V

AGREE

b.

V
Obj

AgrSP
AgrS

Subj

VP

V+AgrS

tSubj
Spec-head

tv

Obj

In order to test the role of precedence, dominance, and Spec-head relation in SVAerrors, Franck et al. (2006) tried to experimentally elicit SVA-errors in six different
structural configurations. In Franck et al. (2007), another six configurations were
added. In their experiments, Franck et al. used elicitation techniques similar to
those described in Section 5.2.1. Here, I will only report the results for some of
their experiments, based mainly on the discussion in Franck et al.(2007).
First, the authors consider the hypothesis that interference (attraction) in SVA
arises as a consequence of intervention. In a configuration like A > B > C, with >
being some structural relation, B intervenes between A and C.Applied to SVA, A
would be the subject, C the inflected verb, and B an intervening plural DP. Under
the intervention hypothesis, attraction is not expected when B is not intervening. In

. This double check hypothesis is motivated by the cross-linguistic observation that


agreement tends to be less stable in VS-structures, that is, in structures in which feature
checking is determined only once, namely by AGREE (Guasti & Rizzi 2002).

Grammar as Processor

order to test the hypothesis that intervention is a necessary condition for interference, Franck et al. tested French structures like the ones given in (68a) and (68b).
In the former, a plural object follows the verb (configuration A > C > B); in the latter, a plural object is part of a matrix clause, while the complement clause contains
a singular subject (configuration B > A > C). In both configurations, the plural DP
does not intervene between singular subject and verb. As expected, no significant
effect of attraction was found for these two configurations, that is, subjects would
not produce plural verbforms.
(68) a. Lenseignant dcrit
les
roman-s

theteacher describe.3.sg the.pl novel-pl

Theteacherdescribesthenovels.
b. Jean dit
aux
patient-es que le mdicament gurit

Jean say.3.sg to.the.pl patient-pl that the medicine
cure.3.sg

Jeantellsthepatientsthatthemedicinecures.

In further experiments, Franck et al. investigated different types of structural


relations in an intervention configuration A > B > C.In particular, they tested
whether intervention in terms of c-command is more disruptive than intervention in terms of precedence. The relevant structures used in the experiments are
given in (68c) and (68d). In sentence (68c), just as in the sentence preambles
used in the English experiments, the subject DP is complex and contains a plural
DP following the singular head noun professeur (teacher). In contrast, in (68d),
a plural accusative clitic pronoun interferes between singular subject and verb.
Crucially, the plural DP in (68c) only precedes AgrS, while the plural object pronoun in (68d) precedes and c-commands AgrS assuming that it has moved to
the clitic position adjoined toAgrS.
(68) c.

Le professeur des


lve-s
lit
the teacher
of.the.pl student-pl read.3.sg
Theteacherofthestudentsreads.

d. Le professeur les


lit

the teacher
3.pl.acc read.3.sg

Theteacherreadsthem.

The accusative clitic pronoun was found to trigger significantly more SVA-errors
than the intervening plural DP that is part of the complex subject DP. Hence, the
error distribution supports the hypothesis that an intervening element which
c-commands AgrS is more likely to cause an SVA-error than an element that only
precedes AgrS. Remember, however, that in all of the English data (spontaneous
and elicited), the erroneous agreement controller does not c-commandAgrS.
Finally, Franck et al. (2006, 2007) also investigated whether traces generated
by movement of a plural DP can disrupt subject-verb agreement. In order to test

Morphosyntactic features in language production

this possibility, they used object cleft constructions with surface OSV order like
the one given in (68e). Presumably, this construction involves stepwise movement
of the object to the left periphery: first, it moves to SpecAgrO, which is located
between the VP and SpecAgrSP, then it moves on to the complementizer system.
Crucially, neither the objects base position within VP nor its final position intervene between AgrS and the subject. The only point in the derivation at which the
plural object does intervene is when it transits through SpecAgrOP. At this point,
it disrupts the AGREE relation between the VP-internal subject and AgrS. Franck
et al. found significant attraction rates in structures like (68e). Actually, the error
rate was higher than that observed with intervening object clitics (68d). They take
this as strong evidence for the assumption that intermediate positions can interfere inSVA.
(68) e. Cest les
ngociation-s que le ministre suspend

thatis the.pl negotiation-pl that the minister stop.3.sg

Itsthenegotiationsthattheministerstops.
f.

Cest les
ngociation-s que suspend le ministre
thatis the.pl negotiation-pl that stop.3.sg the minister
Itsthenegotiationsthattheministerstops.

Note that in (68e), the subject is still in SpecAgrSP at surface structure. That is,
while the first feature checking operation (AGREE) may be disrupted, the second (Spec-head agreement) is not. Things are different in (68f), an object cleft
construction in which stylistic inversion (SI) has applied, giving rise to an OVSorder. While the object undergoes the same movement operations as in (68e),
the subject does not leave the VP and therefore, SVA can only be established by
way of AGREE. Again, the error pattern shows that intermediate representations
are capable of triggering SVA-errors. In addition, however, Franck et al. found
that sentences with SI yielded a much stronger attraction effect than sentences
without SI. They relate this result to their double check hypothesis: agreement
based on AGREE only is more fragile than agreement based on AGREE and Spechead agreement. In (68e), the plural object may disrupt the AGREE relation (in
its intermediate position in SpecAgrOP) but SVA can be saved when the subject
moves to SpecAgrSP, thereby entering into a Spec-head relation with AgrS. The
latter operation is not available in (68f). In other words: once the AGREE relation
is disrupted, SVA cannot besaved.
The studies by Franck et al. (2006, 2007) illustrate in an impressive way how
psycholinguistic investigations can profit from theoretical syntax and vice versa.
Let us take a moment to reconsider the local SVA-errors from my corpus in the
light of their findings. The first thing to note is that there are no errors in my corpus that have the structure in (68a), that is, errors in which the plural DP would

Grammar as Processor

follow the verb. This is in accordance with Franck et al.s experimental results. For
French, this is expected because the plural DP does not intervene between singular subject and verb at any point in the derivation. For German with its underlying SOV-structure, however, it may be less expected because at deep structure,
the plural object intervenes between subject and verb, that is, it precedes and
c-commands the verb. Still, it has to be noted that even at this point, the plural
object does not interfere in the AGREE relation, which is established between
AgrS and the VP-internal subject. Hence, it seems that even in German, the position of the object vis--vis the verb does not disrupt the agreementrelation.
Why, then, are there numerous German errors in which the verb agrees with a
preceding plural object in an embedded clause (see Table (63))? Crucially, if AgrSP
is left-headed (as indicated in (67)), then the plural object neither precedes nor
c-commands AgrS at any point in the derivation since it remains in situ, while the
subject moves to SpecAgrSP (the resulting configuration being subject > AgrS >
object). Only when we assume right-headedness of AgrSP, we can account for this
rather common German error pattern. However, even under this assumption, the
plural object does not c-command AgrS; it only precedes it. But again, we would
have to ask the question why agreement of the verb with a post-verbal plural object
in a matrix clause (see the hypothetical error in (64a)) is not observed given that
in a right-headed configuration, the plural object should be able to disrupt the
AGREE relation in the same way as the intermediate trace in (68e) does. Surely,
SVA could be saved by Spec-head agreement at surface structure, but still, some
errors of this type should beobserved.
I argued above that the absence of such errors can be accounted for when we
assume that agreement is a surface structure phenomenon and that AgrS is adjoined
to Tns at MS (remember that I assume that TnsP is right-headed). According to
this analysis, the only relevant structural property is precedence because neither
the plural object in an embedded clause nor a plural DP contained within the subject DP c-command AgrS. Remember that there is only one error in my corpus in
which the plural DP (a post-verbal subject) does not precede the verb (see (29a)).
Actually, the only SVA-errors in my corpus in which c-command can be argued to
play a role are the few cases in which a plural object precedes the inflected verb in
a matrix clause; see, for instance, (60b) and (61b). In these errors, the object DP
occupies SpecCP and AgrS is adjoined to Tns after Tns-to-Cmovement.
In principle, precedence can also explain the occurrence of errors in the
experimental configurations in (68c) to (68f). After all, in all these configurations, the plural DP precedes AgrS. Yet, it has to be noted that precedence alone
cannot account for the differences in error rates between (68c) and (68d) on
the one hand and (68e) and (68f) on the other hand. Franck et al. (2007) argue
that lack of c-command in (68c) can be held responsible for the first difference,

Morphosyntactic features in language production

while the second one can be accounted for by the lack of a Spec-head relation
between the subject and AgrS in (68f). I want to point out, however, that other
factors might also help us in accounting for the attested differences. On the one
hand, shorter syntactic distance between erroneous agreement controller and
AgrS could be argued to be responsible for the higher error rate in configuration
(68d). On the other hand, the increased error rate in configuration (68f) might
result from the fact that at surfacestructure, a singular DP intervenes between
the plural DP and the verb in (68e).
Without doubt, the analysis of elicited French SVA-errors within the Minimalist Program framework presented in Franck et al. (2006, 2007) is as innovative as it
is thought-provoking. The authors show that the attested errors patterns, in particular, differences in error probability, can be accounted for with the help of theoretical constructs such as c-command, AGREE, and Spec-head agreement. For some
of the configurations that were used in the experimental studies, there are no comparable examples in my corpus of spontaneous German speech errors. For others,
the same reasoning that Franck et al. suggest could be applied to the German data,
most importantly, to the errors in which the verb agrees with a plural DP within a
complex subject DP. These errors, however, are the least interesting when it comes
to their theoretical explanation because the factor responsible for their occurrence
is precedence and not one of the before-mentioned MP-specific mechanisms.
Crucially, as I have shown, a common German error pattern agreement of the
verb with a preceding plural object does not receive a straightforward explanation in the MP-model. While this area certainly awaits further investigation, the
German data suggest that precedence may play a more important role in SVA than
assumed in the Franck et al. studies. In addition, syntactic distance and intervention effects may come to fruition in the speecherrors.
5.2.5 Local agreement involving pronouns
Obviously, in German and in English, feature copy does not only take place
between a subject and a verb but also between a noun and a co-referent pronoun.
While the relevant features in subject-verb agreement are person and number, in
pronominal agreement, the gender feature does also play a role albeit to varying degrees in German and English (see Footnote 20 for studies looking at gender
agreement on predicativeadjectives).
Interference in the establishment of pronominal agreement has been investigated in a number of experiments which used elicitation techniques similar
to those previously described. Bock et al. (1999) and Bock, Eberhard & Cutting
(2004), for instance, focused on number agreement and investigated in how
far errors in verbal agreement (as discussed above) equal errors in pronominal

Grammar as Processor

agreement (also see Eberhard, Cutting & Bock 2005). In one of the sentence completion tasks, subjects were required to produce tag questions containing personal
pronouns. The results indicate that pronouns exhibit the same patterns of attraction as verbs. That is, subjects would occasionally produce tag questions in which
the pronoun agrees in number with a local plural noun, as in the representative
error in (69a). In addition, Bock et al. (1999) found that tag and reflexive pronouns
were the same in susceptibility to plural attraction(69b).
(69) a. Theactorinthesoapoperasrehearsed,didntthey?
b. Theactorinthesoapoperaswatchedthemselves.

In contrast, Meyer & Bock (1999) investigated the establishment of gender agreement, in particular, the production of gender-marked pronouns in Dutch. In
Footnote 39, I have already pointed out that Dutch has two grammatical genders:
neuter and common. Singular neuter nouns take the definite determiner het, while
singular common nouns require the definitive determiner de (the indefinite determiner een as well as the plural determiner de are not marked for gender). The corresponding gender-marked singular demonstrative pronouns are dat (neuter) and
die (common). In the experiments, participants heard a preamble sentence like the
one given in (70). Note that the nouns contained in this sentence are of different
gender but are bothindefinite.
(70) Kijk, daar ligt een aardappel bij
een badpak
Look there lies a
potato(c) next.to a swimsuit(n)
Look,theresapotatolyingnexttoaswimsuit.

After presentation of the preamble, an adjective appeared on the computer


screen. This adjective was chosen such that it could plausibly only refer to
one of the two nouns, for instance, gaar (cooked), which could only refer to
aardappel (potato). In one experiment, the participants were asked to produce
a second sentence using a demonstrative pronoun and the adjective. Following the preamble in (70), the appropriate response would be Die is gaar (It is
cooked). Meyer and Bock were interested in whether the choice of demonstrative would be influenced by the gender specification of the interfering (nonantecedent) noun (the neuter noun badpak (swimsuit) in the above example).
The experimental results show that gender errors were produced and that they
were most likely to occur when the adjective semantically referred to the first
noun in the preamble, that is, in cases where the demonstrative pronoun should
agree in gender with the first noun. For the preamble in (70) this means that
subjects would sometimes respond with the odd sequence Dat is gaar, which
is grammatical but implies that it is the swimsuit which was cooked. Hence,
once again, we are dealing with a case of local agreement. Agreement controller and agreement target may appear in different sentences but the erroneous

Morphosyntactic features in language production

controller is still closer to the demonstrative pronoun than the (semantically)


appropriatecontroller.
At present, my corpus contains 45 local agreement errors involving pronouns.
The types of pronouns involved in these errors are demonstrative pronouns, possessive pronouns, and relative pronouns. I shall look at the slips involving demonstrative pronouns first because these resemble the ones elicited by Meyer & Bock
(1999). There are five errors of this type in my corpus. In (71a), the demonstrative pronoun der (the one) agrees in gender with the local masculine noun Rock
(skirt). Interestingly, the accusative relative pronoun also surfaces in its masculine
form den. Just as in some of the errors discussed in Section 5.2.2.1, the local noun
is part of a genitive complement within a complex subject DP and it is linearly
closer to the pronoun than the head noun Farbe(colour).
(71) a. [die Farbe
des
Rock-s]
ist genau
the.f colour(f) the.m.gen skirt(m)-gen is exactly

den
ich suche,
h, ist genau die,

rel.m.acc I
look.for, er, is exactly the.one.f

der,
the.one.m
die
rel.f.acc

ich suche
I look.for

ThecolouroftheskirtisexactlytheoneImlookingfor.

b. [die Freundin
mein-es
Bruder-s] hat sein-en
Zug

the.f girlfriend(f) my-m.gen brother-gen has poss.3.sg.m-m train(m)

verpass-t
hat ihr-en
Zug
verpass-t
miss-part has poss.3.sg.f-m train(m) miss-part

Mybrothersgirlfriendhasmissedhertrain.

c. [dein-e Meinung ber den


Konflikt]
ist anders

your-f opinion(f) about the.m.acc conflict(m) is different

als mein-er
ist anders als mein-e
from poss.1.sg-m is different from poss.1.sg-f

Youropinionabouttheconflictisdifferentfrommine.

Moreover, six of the gender errors involve possessive pronouns. In (71), I give
two of these errors because they have different properties. In a sense, possessive
pronouns agree twice. First, the pronoun itself agrees in person and number (and
gender in the 3rd person) with an antecedent. Second, the pronoun takes a suffix to agree in gender with the noun it modifies. In (71b), it is the first type of
agreement that goes wrong. Instead of agreeing with the feminine noun Freundin (girlfriend), the possessive pronoun picks the local masculine noun Bruder
(brother) as antecedent. Within DP, however, gender agreement (with the masculine noun Zug (train)) is the same in the erroneous and the correct utterance (see
Slevc, Wardlow Lane & Ferreira (2007) for similar experimental data). (71b)

Grammar as Processor

exemplifies an error of the second type of agreement. Here, the features of the
possessive pronoun itself (1st person singular) remain the same, but the pronoun
agrees with the local noun Konflikt (conflict) ingender.48
The remaining 34 pronoun errors all involve relative pronouns. In 23 of these, it
is the gender feature that can be held responsible for the error. In all cases, the relative
pronoun agrees in gender with a local noun that follows the head noun in a complex
subject DP or an object DP. The former holds in (72a), where the relative pronoun
agrees with the gender feature of the noun Holz (wood) contained in a prepositional
modifier following the head noun. Given that in the plural, there is no gender distinction on relative prounouns, in the remaining 11 relative pronoun errors, it is only the
number feature that can be held responsible for the error. In the accusative and in
the nominative, the plural relative pronoun is die. In (72b), the selection of the plural
pronoun is triggered by the presence of the local plural nounZombies.
(72) a. [der
Vogel aus Palmen-holz], das
er mir,

the.m bird(m) of palm-wood(n) rel.n.acc he 1.sg.dat,

den
er mir
aus Ecuador mit-ge-brach-t
hat
rel.m.acc he 1.sg.dat from Ecuador with-part-bring-part have.3.sg

thebirdmadeofpalmwoodthathebroughtformefromEcuador

b. [der
Film
mit den
Zombie-s],
die
er mir

the.m movie(m) with the.pl.acc zombie(m)-pl rel.pl he 1.sg.dat

ge-lieh-en,
den
er mir
geliehen
hat
part-lend-part, rel.m.acc he 1.sg.dat part-lend-part have.3.sg

themoviewiththezombiesthathehaslentme

c.

die
Anbieter
von kologisch-er Kleidung, die
auch
the.pl supplier(m).pl of ecological-f clothing(f) rel.pl also

attraktiv sein soll-en


Kleidung, die
auch attraktiv sein
attractive be shall-3.pl clothing(f) rel.f also attractive be

soll
shall.3.sg

thesuppliersofecologicalclothingthatshouldalsobeattractive

. Just as in error (2c) at the beginning of this chapter, the possessive pronoun is part of an
elliptic comparative construction. In such an elliptic construction, the form of the masculine
pronoun is different from when it co-occurs with an overt noun. Compare the sentence in (i)
with that in (71c).

(i)

ist anders als mein


Konflikt
is different from poss.1.sg.m conflict(m)
is different from my conflict.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

In the intended utterance in (72b), the relative clause is supposed to modify the
head noun of the complex subject DP. It is worth noting that in two of the relative
pronoun errors, the relative clause modifies the head noun instead of the local
noun, that is, the relative pronoun erroneously agrees with a non-local noun. In
both these cases, the local noun is feminine. Given that the feminine and the plural relative pronoun are homophonous (die), it is only the form of the verb within
the relative clause that indicates that the relative pronoun is indeed specified for
plural. In (72c), plural agreement on the verb within the relative clause tells us that
the relative pronoun agrees in number with the non-local plural noun Anbieter
(suppliers) instead of the local feminine noun Kleidung (clothing). The resulting utterance is not ungrammatical; it is not even particularly awkward. What is
being said is that the suppliers should be attractive but not necessarily the clothing.
Clearly, however, this was not the intention of the speaker. Rather, the preceding
conversation dealt with the regrettable fact that usually, ecological clothing is not
particularlyglamorous.
In sum, the pronoun data show interesting parallels to the SVA-errors.
Although in most cases, it is the gender feature (rather than the number feature)
that is responsible for the error, the structural conditions that facilitate the error
appear to be the same. Except for two out 45 errors, that is, in 95.5% of all cases,
the error source is more local to the agreement target than the correct agreement
controller just as in the SVA-errors. Moreover, in all these cases, the local noun is
part of a genitive modifier or a prepositional complement within a complexDP.
5.2.6 Summary
In this section, I have considered different types of local agreement errors in German. Within this error group, two types of errors have to be distinguished: local
SVA-errors and local errors involving pronouns. My corpus contains 149 slips of the
former and 43 slips of the latter type (remember that two of the pronoun errors discussed in the previous section are non-local), that is, a total of 192 local agreement
errors, the distribution of which is given in Table (73). In this table, I distinguish different features that due to defective feature copy may be responsible for the error.
Clearly, the number feature is the most important one for the SVA-errors, while the
gender feature plays the most prominent role in the pronoun errors. In contrast to
previous tables, I do not distinguish between singular and plural error sources. The
reader will remember that, just as in the spontaneous and elicited English errors,
there are very few cases in which a local SVA-error is caused by a singular local noun.
I have argued that within DM, this tendency can be accounted for by assuming that
singular nouns are not specified for number. As for the SVA-errors, there are also a
few spontaneous slips that are due to erroneous copy of the personfeature.

Grammar as Processor

(73) Distribution of local agreement errors (n =192)


Responsible feature
Type of local agreement

number

verb agrees with local noun


from within complex subjectDP
from within object DP orPP
in intervening nominativeDP

74
61
5

pronoun agrees with localantecedent


relativepronoun
possessivepronoun
demonstrativepronoun
Total

person

gender

140
2
2
5
9
9
149

34
23
6
5

34

The analysis of the spontaneous German errors also brought to light an interesting difference to the elicited English data. In German, it is not uncommon for a
verb to erroneously agree with a noun from within an object DP or an adjunct PP,
while, due to structural differences, similar agreement patterns are not attested
inEnglish.
I want to conclude this section with a brief typological note on SVA-phenomena.
To the best of my knowledge, there are no languages in which agreement of the
verb with a noun from within a complex subject DP would be the rule. That is,
local agreement of the type discussed in Section 5.2.2.1 appears not to be attested
in natural languages.49 Things are quite different with respect to object agreement,
of course. At least agreement of the verb with a direct object is a very common
phenomenon cross-linguistically. In my corpus, there are 32 slips in which the verb
agrees in number with a direct object (out of a total of 63 object/PP-adjunct agreement errors; see Table (37)). For these cases, it could be argued that the speaker
applies an agreement strategy which, in principle, is provided by UG but is actually
not available in her/his language. It has to be noted, however, that in these errors,

. In Itelmen, a Chukotko-Kamchatkan language spoken on the Kamchatka peninsula


(Eastern Russia), intransitive predicates may agree with the possessor of the subject, but only
if the possessor is third person. Note that in (i), the verb aa (cry) may either agree with
the noun njenjeke (child) or with the third person plural possessor (Bobaljik & Wurmbrand
2005:847).

(i)

tiin njenjeke- aa-z-in


/ aa-s-kipinin
their child-dim cry-pres-3.sg.subj / cry-pres-3.pl.obl
Their child is crying.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

object agreement does not combine with subject agreement. Rather, it substitutes
subject agreement. Cross-linguistically, this is a marked pattern because usually,
object agreement exists in addition to subject agreement (occasionally realized
by a portmanteau morpheme). Finally, agreement with an indirect object or a
DP from within a prepositional phrase is much less common cross-linguistically,
although it does exist (Bobaljik & Wurmbrand 2002; Corbett2006).
5.3. Defective feature copy II: Long-distance agreement
It could be argued that the local SVA-errors discussed in the previous section,
as intriguing as they are, are still the expected case. If, for whatever reason, the
agreement target picks an erroneous agreement controller, then it seems plausible that it picks one that is closer to home (remember that this implies linear
distance, not syntactic distance). Interestingly, however, my corpus also contains
a fair number of slips which contradict this prediction, that is, slips in which
the erroneous agreement controller is clearly more distant to the verb than the
correct controller (the head of the subject DP). I refer to errors of this type as
long-distance agreement (LDA) errors. For the most part, in LDA-errors, an
agreement relation is established between a matrix clause and an embedded
clause. For the sake of illustration, consider the example in (74a). In this error,
the matrix verb wissen (to know) agrees in person and number with the 2nd person plural pronoun ihr which is the subject of the finite embedded clause. While
for some errors of this type, it might be argued that they do not exemplify LDA
but are the result of a suffix anticipation or perseveration, such an account is not
available for (74a) because the matrix verb is subject to a stem-internal change in
its 2nd person pluralform.
(74) a. ich wiss-t,
[dass ihr
nicht Recht hab-t]

I
know-2.pl that you(pl) not right have-2.pl

ich wei,
dass ihr
nicht Recht hab-t
I know.1.sg, that you(pl) not right have-2.pl

Iknowthatyourenotright.

b. damit du,
[wenn jemand komm-st, komm-t], nicht

so.that you(sg) when someone come-2.sg come-3.sg not

ge-hinder-t
wir-st
part-hinder-part be.fut-2.sg

Sothatyouwontbehinderedwhensomeonecomes.

With the notable exception of Meringer & Mayer (1895), to date only few studies
on speech errors have acknowledged the existence of spontaneous LDA-errors.

Grammar as Processor

Amongst the examples that Meringer & Mayer (1895:42f) cite is the one given in
(74b). In this error, in contrast to the one in (74a), the embedded verb kommen
(come) agrees with the second person singular subject of the matrix clause (also
see MacKay (1979:485) and Pfau(2003)).
Different types of LDA-errors from my corpus will be presented in Section 5.3.2.
Before turning to the error data, however, I will point out in Section 5.3.1 that
LDA, as unusual as it may seem, is also attested as a regular phenomenon in some
languages. In Section 5.3.3, I summarize the main findings and compare the patterns attested in the speech errors to the regular LDA-patterns to be described in
the nextsection.
5.3.1 LDA in natural languages
Long-distance agreement refers to the phenomenon of a verb agreeing with an
argument that is not its own. LDA-patterns have been described for a number of unrelated languages, such as, for instance, Hindi-Urdu (Mahajan 1989;
Bhatt 2005), the Daghestanian languages Godoberi and Tsez (Haspelmath 1999;
Polinsky & Comrie 1999; Polinsky & Potsdam 2001), the Chukotko-Kamchatkan
language Itelmen (Bobaljik & Wurmbrand 2002, 2005), and the Algonquian languages Passamaquoddy and Innu-aimn (Bruening 2001; Branigan & Mackenzie
2002). In the following, I will focus on the main characteristics of LDA in Tsez
andHindi.
Polinsky & Comrie (1999) provide a description of LDA in Tsez, a Daghestanian language spoken in the Northeastern Caucasus (see Polinsky & Potsdam
(2001) and Bobaljik & Wumbrand (2005) for syntactic analyses). Tsez has four
noun classes. Noun class (just like gender in German) is a covert category
which, however, surfaces in agreement prefixes on verbs and modifiers. Crucially, verbal agreement can only be triggered by an absolutive DP. In cases
in which the absolutive argument of a verb is a sentential complement, Tsez
offers two possibilities for agreement: either the matrix verb agrees with the
sentential complement as a single complex phrase, thus assigning it class 4, or
the matrix verb agrees with the absolutive DP inside the complement clause,
as illustrated in (75a). In this example, class 3 agreement on the matrix verb
iy (know) can only be triggered by the DP magalu (bread) within the complement clause because this is the only absolutive DP in the sentence (note
that in Tsez, most proposition-attitude verbs, such as to know, take the experiencer argument in the dative). As a consequence, both the embedded and
the matrix verb appear with the same agreement prefix (Polinsky & Comrie
1999:117). Example (75b) shows that Tsez also permits LDA out of infinitival
complements. In this example, class 2 agreement on the predicative adjective

Morphosyntactic features in language production

igu (good) is triggered by the embedded absolutive argument kayat (letter)


(Polinsky & Comrie1999:121).50
(75) a. eni-r
[u-
magalu
b-c-ru-i]
b-iy-xo

mother-dat boy-erg bread.abs.3 cl3-eat-pstprt-nmlz cl3-know-pres

Themotherknowsthattheboyatebread.
b. [a kaat
cax-a]
y-igu
zow-si

this letter.abs.2 write-inf cl2-good be-past

Itwasgoodtowritethatletter.

LDA in Hindi appears to be somewhat more restricted in that it is only attested


with arguments of non-finite clauses, as in (76a) where the matrix predicate
chahh (want) agrees in gender with the embedded object kitaab (book) (Bhatt
2005:760). Generally, in Hindi, verbs and auxiliaries only agree with arguments
that are not overtly case-marked. It is therefore not surprising that the matrix verb
in (76a) does not agree with its overtly marked ergative subject Vivek. Actually, as
pointed out by Bhatt (2005:760), LDA can only take place if the matrix verb has
no non-overtly case-marked arguments of its own, that is, the verb cannot show
agreement with two arguments. The ungrammaticality of example (76b) further
illustrates that LDA in Hindi cannot attract features of an embedded finite clause
(Bhatt2005:776).
(76) a. Vivek-ne [kitaab parh-nii] chaah-ii

Vivek-erg book(f) read-inf.f want-perf.f.sg

Vivekwantedtoreadthebook.
b. *Firoz-ne soch-ii
ki [Mona
ghazal
gaa-tii

Firoz-erg think-perf.f.sg that Mona(f) ghazal(f) sing-hab.f

hai]
be.pres.3.sg

FirozthoughtthatMonasingsghazals.

. Similar patterns have been described for Godoberi, another Daghestanian language,
which, however, is not closely related to Tsez (Haspelmath 1999). In Godoberi, LDA is only
observed with two types of sentential complements, namely infinitival complements and converbal complements (used with the complement-taking verbs begin and finish). As in Tsez,
matrix verbs may agree in gender and number with an embedded absolutive (direct object)
argument. In (i), for instance, the matrix verb eu (forget) agrees with the absolutive neuter
plural argument gyazeta (newspaper) contained in the infinitival complement (Haspelmath
1999:131; cont = contessive case).
(i) ali-u
[gyazeta-be
r-ax-i]
r-eu-a
Ali-cont paper-pl.abs pl.n-take-inf pl.n-forget-aor
Ali forgot to buy newspapers.

Grammar as Processor

Before turning to the German speech errors, I wish to point out that by citing
the examples in (75) and (76), I do not mean to suggest that regular LDA in
Tsez and Hindi and erroneous LDA in German speech errors exemplify the same
phenomenon in fact, they probably dont. Still, I take the above examples to be
illuminating in that they illustrate that verbal agreement in natural languages is
not necessarily confined to a single clause. Rather, agreement features may be
transferred across clause boundaries, and it is exactly this kind of transfer which
also manifests in the speech error data. In Section 5.3.3, I will provide a comparison of the two data sets in terms of agreementdomains.
5.3.2 LDA in speech errors
Let me now turn to the patterns of long-distance agreement as attested in my
corpus which, at present, contains 56 spontaneous LDA-errors. As far as the
relation between matrix and embedded clause is concerned, we are going to see
that in the speech errors, LDA can go both ways. On the one hand, a matrix
verb can agree with an embedded argument, as in (74a); errors of this type will
be discussed in Section 5.3.2.1. On the other hand, agreement of an embedded
verb with an argument of the matrix clause is also attested (see (74b)). Slips that
follow this pattern are introduced in Section 5.3.2.2. In addition, there are also a
few cases in which LDA is observed between conjoined clauses. This special type
of LDA, which I refer to as anticipatory agreement, will be subject to discussion
in Section5.3.2.3.
5.3.2.1 Matrix verb agrees with embedded argument
Based on the available data, we can draw two conclusions concerning regular LDA. First, regular LDA always involves agreement of a matrix verb with
an embedded argument. I will therefore discuss spontaneous errors exhibiting
a comparable pattern first. There are 23 such errors in my corpus. Secondly,
agreement of a matrix verb with an argument from a finite embedded clause
is more marked. The data discussed in the literature suggest that languages
that allow for this type of LDA (for example, Tsez and Passamaquoddy), also
allow for LDA with an argument from a non-finite clause, while the opposite
is not the case. In Hindi and Itelmen, for instance, LDA is restricted to infinitival clauses. Hence, the first error data I will present are those that exhibit the
unmarked pattern: agreement of a matrix verb with an argument from a nonfinitecomplement.
Given that the subject position is phonologically empty in German infinitival
clauses, in these cases, the agreement controller can only be a direct or indirect
object. Actually, all seven cases from my corpus, two of which are given in (77),

Morphosyntactic features in language production

involve LDA with a direct object. In (77a), the embedded clause containing the
plural noun Zitronen (lemons) intervenes between the 3rd person singular subject and the matrix verb vergessen (forget). Instead of with its own subject, the
matrix verb agrees with the embedded object. The error in (77b) is structurally
similar. In this case, however, the error source is a 2nd person singular pronoun
contained in the non-finite clause. That is, the feature responsible for the error is
the person feature, not the numberfeature.51
(77) a.

dass er [die
Zitrone-n zu kauf-en] vergess-en
that he the.acc.pl lemon-pl to buy-inf forget-3.pl

dass er zu kauf-en vergisst


that he to buy-inf forget.3.sg

thatheforgetstobuythelemons.

b. weil
sie [dich
schon ewig
zu treff-en] versuch-st,

because she 2.sg.acc already for.ages to meet-inf] try-2.sg,


h, zu treff-en versuch-t
er, to meet-inf try-3.sg

becauseshesbeentryingtomeetyouforages.

In (78), I give a syntactic structure for the slip (77a). In this structure, the matrix
verb selects an IP-complement the specifier position of which is occupied by PRO.
As in previous structures, the arrows along the branches of the tree illustrate the
syntactic path the relevant feature of the local noun (number in this case) has to
take to reach the agreement node. Clearly, this path, which crosses four maximal
projections, is longer than that of the features of the subject DP in SpecTnsP. Linearly, the error source may be as as close to the verb as the error sources in many
of the local agreement errors discussed in Section 5.2. The crucial difference, however, is that in (78) a clausal projectionintervenes.

. In one error in my corpus, a non-finite clause appears sentence-initially. In (i), the


matrix verb agrees in person and number with the 2nd person singular object pronoun
contained in the preverbal IP. Note, however, that in this case, unlike the examples in (77),
the IP appears in subject position. Therefore, the error in (i) resembles the slips discussed
in Section 5.2.2.1, that is, the errors in which the verb agrees with a noun from within a
complex subject DP.

(i) [dich
zu kritisier-en] fll-st,
h, fll-t
mir
schwer
2.sg.acc to criticize-inf fall-2.sg, er, fall-3.sg 1.sg.dat difficult
I find it difficult to criticize you.

Grammar as Processor
TnsP

(78)

Tns

DPi
[3rd]
[]

LP

Tns

IP
Spec
PROi

tL1
I

L1

LP

DP

[+]

tL2

Tns
Tns

AgrS

[]

[+]

feature copy

Let us now turn to the cases in which a matrix verb agrees with an argument of a
finite embedded clause. Interestingly, this type of LDA is more common in my corpus, despite the fact that it is the more marked type in natural LDA. My corpus contains 16 slips that follow this pattern. 13 of these slips contain a complement clause,
the other three an adverbial (adjunct) clause. Here, I will only present two errors of
the former type. In (79a), for instance, we are dealing with a main clause containing
a complement clause. In this case, the matrix verb wollen (want) agrees in number
with the the plural subject of the that-clause, which follows the verb. (79b) is different in that the embedded CP intervenes between the subject pronoun and the verb
in an embedded clause actually, a marked structure in German because usually,
complement clauses are extraposed to sentence-final position in embedded contexts
(Bring & Hartmann 1995). In the error, the matrix verb bedauern (regret) erroneously agrees with the intervening direct object pronoun in the complementclause.
(79) a. ich woll-en,
h, ich will
eigentlich, [dass wir uns

I want-1.pl, er, I
want.1.sg actually
that we rec

ft-er
seh-en]
often-comp see-pl

Iactuallywantforustoseeeachothermoreoften.

b. weil
sie manchmal, [dass

because she sometimes that

sie dich
kenn-t],
bedauer-st,
she 2.sg.acc know-3.sg regret-2.sg

h, bedauer-t
er, regret-3.sg

becausesometimessheregretsthatsheknowsyou.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

When finite complements are involved, LDA-errors in which the matrix verb
agrees with the subject of the embedded clause (as in (74a) and (79a)) appear to
be more common than errors in which the matrix verb agrees with an embedded object (79b). Actually, only three of the errors from my corpus are of the
lattertype.
In (80), I provide a syntactic structure for the error (79a). Note that the
adverbials are neglected in this structure. In this error, it is the root woll that
takes a CP-complement. This root moves to matrix Tns and then on to C where
AgrS is adjoined to Tns. Since the embedded as well as the matrix verb agree with
the embedded plural subject, we must assume that the agreement features of the
embedded subject are copied twice, as indicated in the structure. The same is, of
course, also true for all the other errors in which a matrix verb agrees with the
subject of a finite embedded clause. In all of these cases, two verbs agree with one
subjectDP.
(80)

CP
C

DP
[1st]

Tns
L1

TnsP
Tns

tDP

Tns

AgrS

[]

[+]

LP
CP
C

[dass]
long-distance
feature copy

Tns
tTns
tL1
TnsP

DP

Tns

[1st]
[+]

Tns

LP
...tL2

Tns

L2
Tns

[]
regular feature copy

AgrS
[+]

Grammar as Processor

5.3.2.2 Embedded verb agrees with matrix argument


As pointed out before, regular LDA always involves a verb which agrees with
a constituent inside the verbs (finite or non-finite) clausal complement. In the
speech errors, however, we also come across the opposite pattern, that is, embedded verbs agreeing with an argument of the matrix clause. Actually, these cases
are almost as common as those involving agreement with an embedded argument. My corpus contains 20 slips of the former type (as compared to 23 of the
latter type). In 19 of these, the embedded verb agrees with the subject of the
matrixclause.
As in the previous section, different types of subordinate clauses have to be
distinguished. In ten errors, two of which are given in (81a) and (81b), the verb
which erroneously agrees with an argument of the matrix clause is contained in
a complement clause. In (81a), the auxiliary in the embedded clause agrees with
the first person plural subject pronoun of the matrix clause. The error in (81b),
on the other hand, is the one error from my corpus in which an embedded verb
agrees with the object of the main clause, in this case, with the second person
singular dative pronoun dir. This slip is unique in yet another respect because the
complement clause fulfills the function of subject, not that of direct object (note
that this slip contains the idiomatic expression wurscht sein (literally be sausage),
which I translate as couldnt careless).
(81) a. wir versteh-en
gut, [dass du
ge-nerv-t
sind, h,

we understand-1.pl well that you(sg) part-annoy-part be.1.pl, er,

bist]
be.2.sg

Weunderstandwellthatyouareannoyed.

b. dir
ist
doch
vollkommen wurscht, [ob
er

2.sg.dat be.3.sg mod.part completely sausage, whether he

Recht hast,
ob
er Recht hat
oder nicht]
right have.2.sg, whether he right have.3.sg or
not

Youcouldntcarelesswhetherhesrightornot.

In (82), I give a structure for the error in (81a). While this structure is almost
identical to the one given in (80), the agreement copy process is completely different. In this example, there is no agreement feature copy within the lower CP.
Rather, as indicated by the arrows, both agreement nodes receive the feature
[+pl] from the matrix subject position. While regular feature copy and LDA
take different routes in (80) one going down, the other up they both proceed
downwards in (82). In both cases, however, LDA crosses one CPboundary.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

(80)

CP
C

DP
[1st]
[+]

Tns
L1

TnsP
tDP

Tns

Tns
[]

LP

AgrS
[+]

CP

C
regular feature copy

[dass]

Tns
tTns
tL1
TnsP
Tns

DP
[2nd]

LP

Tns

tL2

L2

Tns

Tns
long-distance
feature copy

[]

AgrS
[+]

In six slips, the embedded verb which erroneously agrees with the matrix subject
is not contained in a complement clause but rather in an adjunct clause. This is
true, for instance, for example (83a), which contains a temporal adverbial clause in
sentence-initial position. The verb of the adverbial clause agrees with the second person singular pronoun of the matrix clause. Finally, in example (83b), I present one of
four slips in which the verb in a relative clause agrees with an argument of the main
clause instead of with the subject of the relative clause. In this example, the plural head
noun Dinge (things) is the subject of the matrix clause but the object of the relative
clause; the subject of the relative clause is the singular DP kein Mensch(nobody).
(83) a.

[als sie uns das letzte Mal besuch-t


hast,
when she us the last time visit-part have.2.sg

h, hat],
war-st
du wahrscheinlich
er, have.3.sg be.past-2.sg you probably

Thelasttimeshevisitedus,youwereprobablyonholiday.

in Urlaub
on holiday

Grammar as Processor

b. hier passier-en
Ding-e, [die kein Mensch fr mglich

here happen-3.pl thing-pl rel.pl no person for possible

ge-halt-en
hab-en]
part-hold-part have-pl

Therearethingsgoingonthatnobodyconsideredpossible.

It should be noted that some of the errors which I classify as LDA-errors might
also be instances of phonological errors. The slip in (83a), for instance, could also
be analyzed as a phonological anticipation of -st, which is part of the coda of the
following verb. As pointed out earlier, only few of the speech errors are perfect
in the sense that they allow for an unambiguous analysis. However, slips like (81a),
which involve suppletive verb forms, are clear evidence that LDA is attested in the
spontaneousdata.
5.3.2.3 A special case: Anticipatory agreement
So far, all the LDA-phenomena I have discussed involve the interaction between a
matrix and an embedded clause. Interestingly, however, my error collection contains yet another type of LDA-error. In this type, two clauses are conjoined in a
coordination structure and the verb of the first conjunct erroneously agrees with
the subject of the second conjunct. I am referring to this special case of longdistance agreement as anticipatory agreement (Anderson 1992:112). There are
13 such errors in my collection, two of which are given in (84). In (84a), two
embedded clauses are coordinated and the verb of the first conjunct agrees with
the first person singular pronoun of the second conjunct. Given the suppletive
nature of the inflected form of the verb sein (to be), I consider this error a clear
case of anticipatory agreement. Things are somewhat different in (84b). In this
error, two matrix CPs are combined. The verb kommen (to come) in the first conjunct surfaces with the second person singular agreement suffix, thereby agreeing
with the subject of the second conjunct. Note, however, that the verb is the same
in both conjuncts and is gapped in the second clause. Presumably, before deletion
of the second verb, the structure of the second conjunct was du kommst hoffentlich auch. It might therefore be the case that we are dealing with a phonological
or word anticipation rather than an LDA-error. That is, some material was anticipated before it got deleted in the secondconjunct.
(84) a. weil
er wtend bin
und ich keine Lust
hab

because he angry be.1.sg and I no
inclination have.1.sg

weil
er wtend ist
because he angry be.3.sg

becauseheisangryandIdontfeellikedoingit.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

b. mein Bruder komm-st und du hoffentlich auch



my
brother come-2.sg and you hopefully too

mein Bruder komm-t


my brother come-3.sg

Mybrotherwillcomeandhopefullyyou,too.

A syntactic structure for the agreement anticipation in (84a) is given in (85).


Presumably, we are dealing with a coordination of two TnsPs, with the second
conjunct being adjoined to the first one. In the error, the agreement feature of the
second conjunct subject is copied onto the agreement nodes in bothconjuncts.52
(85)

TnsP
TnsP
DP
[3rd]
[]
AP

BP
B

Tns
VP

[]

Tns
tL1 L1

[]

AgrS

LP

LP

[]
[+]

Tns
tL2 L2

DP

[1st] D

long-distance
feature copy

Tns

DP
[1st]

Tns

Tns

TnsP

Tns

Tns
[]

AgrS
[1st]

regular feature copy

While in the errors discussed in the previous subsections, the embedded clause
is dependent on the matrix clause and cannot appear on its own, in anticipatory
agreement, the two clauses are completely independent of each other, a fact which
makes the erroneous feature copy appear even more exotic. After all, in case of a
dependency relation, it may seem more likely for an agreement feature to cross a
clausalboundary.

. In (85), BP stands for Boolean Phrase, the head of which may be occupied by Boolean
operators such as und (and), oder (or), and sowie (as well as). For further aspects of the
syntax of coordination see Hartmann (2000).

Grammar as Processor

Interestingly, however, anticipatory agreement is also attested as a regular


agreement mechanism in some spoken languages, for instance, in the Papuan
Highland language Tairora (Vincent 1973; McKaughan 1973). In coordination
structures in this language, first conjunct verbs require an anticipatory actor suffix,
that is, a suffix which specifies person and number of the subject of the following
verb, whenever the two conjuncts have different subjects. In addition, verbs take
a portmanteau suffix which indicates person and number of their own subject
(actor) as well as tense. Hence, in (86a), the suffix -manta indicates that the subject of the second conjunct is first person singular (Vincent 1973:572). Similarly,
the suffix -ro in (86b) indicates that the third person singular subjects of the two
conjuncts are not the same, that is, the person who is eating is not the same person
who is leaving (McKaughan1973:592).53
(86) a. t-i-manta
ir-una-ra

say-3.sg.past-1.sg hear-1.sg.past-foc

HespokeandIheard.
b. na-iba-ro
bi-ro

eat-3.sg.past-3.sg go-3.sg.past

He1ateandhe2left.

The Papuan examples resemble the speech error data in that the first conjunct
verb always agrees with features of a second conjunct subject. To date my corpus does not contain an error in which agreement features would be perseverated in a coordination structure. Still, there is an important difference between
the spontaneous errors and regular anticipatory agreement. In the speech errors,
anticipatory agreement overwrites regular subject agreement, while in the
Papuan examples, regular subject agreement and anticipatory agreement cooccur, that is, the first conjunct verbs in (86) agree with their own subject and
with the subject of the second conjunct. In contrast, such double marking is not
attested in the speecherrors.
5.3.3 Summary: Agreement domains
The spontaneous speech errors presented in the preceding sections illustrate
that in the German errors, verbs may not only erroneously agree with a local
DP be it part of a complex subject DP or part of an object phrase but also
with the subject/object of another clause. In long-distance agreement, two

. Similar clause chaining strategies have been described for Fore (Scott 1978), Awa
(Loving & McKaughan 1973), and Hua (Haiman 1980). For a comprehensive survey of clause
chaining in Papuan languages see Foley (1986:175ff).

Morphosyntactic features in language production

types of clausal relations have to be distinguished: a combination of a matrix


and an embedded clause and a combination of two clauses of the same type in
a coordination structure. Table (87) lists the different structural types of LDA
and shows the distribution of LDA-errors from my corpus (n = 56) across the
varioustypes.
(87) Distribution of long-distance agreement (LDA) errors (n =56)
Veb agrees with
Type of long-distance agreement

subject

matrix verb agrees with embedded argument


of infinitivalcomplement
of finite complementclause
of finite adjunctclause

10
3

embedded verb agrees with matrixargument


embedded verb in finite complementclause
embedded verb in finite adjunctclause
embedded verb in relativeclause

9
6
4

object

13

10
7
3
-

19

1
1
-

anticipatoryagreement

13

Total

45

11

I have also shown that some of the LDA-patterns are attested as a regular phenomenon in various languages. For instance, LDA of a matrix verb with an argument of
an embedded clause is attested in Hindi as well as in some Daghestanian languages,
while anticipatory agreement of a first conjunct verb with a second conjunct subject has been described for some languages spoken in Papua NewGuinea.
Still, there are some crucial differences between the regular and the error
data. First of all, regular LDA always involves agreement of a matrix verb with a
constituent inside the verbs clausal complement. Clearly, this is not true for the
German speech errors, where an embedded verb may also agree with a matrix
argument, as has been shown in Section 5.3.2.2. That is, 20 out 56 LDA-errors
exhibit a pattern which, to the best of my knowledge, is not attested as a regular
agreement pattern. Hence, we are left with 23 slips in which the matrix verb
agrees with an embedded argument. Remember, however, that in Tsez and Hindi
a matrix verb can only agree with an embedded object (according to Bobaljik &
Wurmbrand (2005), the same is true for Itelmen). In Tsez, this is the absolutive
argument within a finite (75a) or non-finite (75b) complement; in Hindi, it is
the accusative object within a non-finite complement (but only when not overtly
case marked, (76a)). Generally, agreement of the matrix verb with an embedded

Grammar as Processor

subject appears to be highly uncommon.54 Therefore, we are left with only ten
spontaneous errors which resemble the regular LDA-patterns as described in
Section 5.3.1. Out of these ten errors, seven involve infinitival complements,
which could be taken as evidence that LDA out of infinitival complements is
lessmarked.
Obviously, these data pose a challenge to theories that assume that a strictly
local relationship such as the specifier-head relationship is necessary for agreement. Based on their discussion of Itelmen and Tsez data, Bobaljik & Wurmbrand
(2005) suggest two scenarios for the establishement of LDA. For the Itelmen case,
they argue that the infinitival clause constitutes an agreement domain and that
agreement with the matrix predicate (with the matrix vP, in their terms) is not
possible without movement. Therefore, the object has to undergo LF-movement to
the matrix clause (to SpecvP). In other words: what looks like LDA is really covert
movement into a higher agreementdomain.
Things are different in Tsez. In order to account for the Tsez data, Bobaljik &
Wurmbrand (2005) follow a suggestion made by Polinsky & Potsdam (2001).
First, they borrow an idea from phase theory (Chomsky 2000), in particular,
the edge condition, according to which elements at the high periphery of one
locality domain are accessible to the next higher domain. Applied to the Tsez
data this means that the specifier of the embedded CP would be accessible for
agreement with the matrix predicate. In the Tsez example (75a), however, the
absolutive argument is not at the periphery of the embedded clause. Therefore,
they also adopt Polinsky and Potsdams proposal that an agreeing DP carries
an obligatory topic interpretation. Hence, at LF this DP moves to the specifier
of a topic phrase in the left periphery of the embedded clause. According to
Polinsky & Potsdam (2001: 585), [i]n this position, the topic is in a sufficiently local configuration with the embedding verb with which it agrees, as is
illustrated in(88).

. Data presented by Branigan & MacKenzie (2002:388) indicate that Innu-aimn is an exception to this generalization. In this language, a matrix verb which takes a complement clause
optionally agrees with the embedded subject or the embedded direct object. In (i) the matrix
verb takes the suffix -at, thereby showing agreement with the (coordinated) plural subject of
the finite embedded clause.

(i)

Ni-tshissenim-nn-at [mpishtut Shshepa Tshn mk Mn]


1.pl-know-1.pl-3.pl visit
Joseph
John and Mary]
We know that John and Mary visited Joseph.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

(88)

TnsP
Tns

Spec
Tns
Tns

VP
AgrS V

agreement
domain

TopP
Spec

Top
Top

IP

While these proposals may be convincing for the languages under consideration,
it is not clear how they can help us in accounting for the spontaneous errors. Note
that according to these analyses, agreement is determined at LF, not at MS. In
other words: agreement (and presumably other morphosyntactic processes) follows all syntactic operations, not just overt syntax. I assume that this view is still
compatible with the course of the derivation as sketched in Sections 3.2.2 and
5.2.3 provided that feature copy at LF feeds Vocabulary insertion at PF. For the 23
errors in which the matrix verb agrees with an embedded argument we might then
assume that at LF, the responsible argument (a subject or an object) is erroneously
moved to a position in which it is sufficiently local to the matrix verb, or rather to
the matrix agreement node. Remember that in the German errors, just as in Tsez,
the matrix verb only agrees with the embeddedargument.
This scenario, however, is highly stipulative. Also, it does not account for the
cases in which the embedded verb agrees with a matrix argument. For these configurations, it is hard to imagine how the agreement source and the agreement
target could end up in a sufficiently local configuration at LF. The same, of course,
holds for the cases of anticipatory agreement. Certainly, in this configuration, the
subject of the second conjunct is neither interpreted in the first conjunct (which
might motivate LF-movement) nor can it be moved to a peripheral position where
it would be accessible for agreement with the first conjunct predicate. I therefore
conclude that the analyses proposed for regular LDA-phenomena do not offer
plausible explanations for the error data. What happens in these errors is exceptional in the sense that an agreement feature targets an agreement node which
should be inaccessible because it lies outside of the agreement domain of that feature. Hence, it appears that for unknown reasons, the agreement domain becomes
permeable, thereby allowing for feature transmission across the domain boundary.

Grammar as Processor

However, a permeable agreement domain alone is not sufficient for an LDA-error


to occur. In addition, the non-local agreement feature be it lower or higher in
the structure must be more highly activated than the local feature in order to be
chosen as the erroneous agreementcontroller.
5.4 Feature shift and feature stranding
In the preceding sections, the focus has been on various types of feature copy
processes. On the one hand, we have seen that following semantic noun substitutions and noun displacement errors, gender feature copy at MS guarantees a grammatical outcome. That is, material within DP (as well as co-referential pronouns)
agrees in gender with the substituted or dislocated noun. On the other hand, the
discussion in Sections 5.2 and 5.3 has made clear that the feature copy process
itself may also be defective, giving rise to an ungrammatical utterance in which a
verb agrees with a local or non-local noun which is not itssubject.
In this section, I will take a closer look at other errors which result from
the manipulation of morphosyntactic features. In particular, I will discuss slips
in which a morphosyntactic feature is either stranded, that is, left behind in its
original position, or shifted, that is, exchanged, perseverated, or anticipated. In the
former case, the error element is a root, while in the latter case, the error element
is the feature itself. I will consider stranding and shift of the morphosyntactic features number (Section 5.4.1), tense (Section 5.4.2), negation (Section 5.4.3), gender (Section 5.4.4), and case (Section 5.4.5). In all sections, the stranding cases will
be discussed before the shift cases. Additionally, some errors result from stranding
or shift of a person feature. I will not discuss these cases in detail but only mention
them briefly in the summary in Section5.4.6.
5.4.1 Number
In speech errors which involve nouns with different number specification, there
are two options with respect to the manipulation of the feature [+pl] (remember
from the discussion in Section 5.2.2.5 that I assume that there is no feature [pl]).
On the one hand, the noun can be dislocated together with the plural feature, as
in (89a). In this error, the roots kind (child) and hilfe (help) are exchanged.
Only the first of the two roots is specified for plural and takes this feature along
to its new position. Note that we also observe accommodation in the error
(the accommodation site is underlined): the definite determiner accommodates
to the gender and number feature of Hilfe. At the second error site, accommodation is not visible because the feminine singular suffix and the plural suffix on
the possessive pronoun are homophonous. The English error in (89b) has similar

Morphosyntactic features in language production

properties (Fromkin 1971:43). In contrast to (89a), however, this slip could also be
analyzed as the exchange of complete DPs because both nouns are accompanied
by a definite determiner.55 Clearly, such an analysis is not available for(89a).
(89) a. ich habe der
Hilfe fr ihr-e
Kind-er ge-dank-t

I
have the.f.dat help(f) for their-pl child-pl part-thank-part

den
Kind-er-n
fr ihr-e
Hilfe
the.pl.dat child-pl-dat for their-f help(f)

Ihavethankedthechildrenfortheirhelp.

b. examinethehorseoftheeye-s theeye-softhehorse

My corpus contains 23 errors which involve number stranding. All of these errors
are either noun exchanges or incompletes, that is, errors that are self-corrected by
the speaker after the first error element. In (90a), for instance, wort (word) and
buchstabe (letter) are exchanged and wort combines with the stranded plural feature. This slip also illustrates that we are in fact dealing with feature stranding and not with suffix stranding since, after the exchange has taken place, the
appropriate plural allomorph is chosen for wort and umlaut formation is triggered. Things are not as clear in the error in (90b). Given that the exchanged roots
stufe (step) and treppe (stair) take the same plural affix, this error could also
be analyzed as an instance of suffix stranding. In other words: this error is ambiguous between a root exchange at MS and a (phonological) stem exchange at PF. The
same holds for the English exchange in (90c) (Fromkin 1973b:258).
(90) a. ein Buchstabe ist vier Wrt-er lang, h,

a letter
is four word-pl long, er,

ein Wort ist vier Buchstabe-n lang


a word is four letter-pl
long

Awordisfourletterslong.

b. wie viele Treppe-n hat


dies-e Stufe eigentlich

how many stair-pl have.3.sg this-f step(f) actually

wie viele Stufe-n hat


dies-e Treppe
how many step-pl have.3.sg this-f stair(f)

Howmanystepsdoesthisstairactuallyhave?

c. aholefulloffloor-s afloorfullofhole-s

. That the exchange of whole DPs is in fact an option, is illustrated by the slip in (i) in
which the respective determiner positions contain different material (Garrett 1980a: 192).
Hence, this error can only be analyzed as an exchange of [DP a discussion] and [DP this guy].

(i)

I got into [this guy] with [a discussion] into a discussion with this guy

Grammar as Processor

Stemberger (1985) reports that in his corpus, stranding of the plural, as in (90), is
about four times as frequent as non-stranding cases, such as (89). When checking the Frankfurt corpus for noun exchanges, it contained only 18 informative
errors, that is, errors in which a plural and a singular noun interact. In 14 of these
exchanges, however, the plural feature strands a ratio very similar to that reported
byStemberger.
Generally, the feature [+pl] is selected from List 1 and enters the computation whenever a node multiple(x) is active at the conceptual level. In tree
structures presented in the previous sections, it was assumed that roots share
a terminal L-node with the feature [+pl] (see, for instance, (78)). It has to
be noted, however, that this is a simplification. According to recent theorizing, a
plural feature projects its own functional projection which is located between D
and the lexical head L.In (91), I give a more elaborate structure for the plural DP
ihre Kinder (their children) from the error (89a). Following a suggestion made
by Ritter (1991, 1995), I label the relevant functional projection NumP (for functional categories within the noun phrase see also Szabolcsi (1994) and Vangsnes
(2001)). Presumably, in the syntax, the root will raise to SpecNumP. Also, the
plural feature will be copied ontoD.
(91)

DP
D
[]

NumP
Num

LP

[+]

Based on this structure, we can make an interesting prediction. In a sentence containing the DP in (91), three types of exchanges should be possible. I will illustrate
these three types by means of the intended utterance of the slip (89a). First of all,
LP could be accessed in the error. In this case, we would observe number stranding
as well as stranding of the material in D, that is, an error similar to (90a); see (92a)
for the resulting hypothetical error. The second option involves the manipulation
of NumP. In this case, the plural feature is taken along but the material in D is left
behind. This is actually what we observed in (89a). Thirdly, as has been pointed out
above, the whole DP could be the target of the exchange, yielding the hypothetical
error given in (92b). What should be impossible, however, given the structure in
(91), is an error in which the DP is exchanged but the number feature is stranded.
The result of such an operation would look like (92c). Interestingly, this prediction
is borne out: neither the Frankfurt corpus nor my own corpus contains an error
that would exhibit such apattern.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

(92) a.

ich habe den


Hilfe-n fr ihr Kind ge-dank-t
I have the.pl.dat help-pl for their child part-thank-part

den
Kind-er-n
fr ihr-e
Hilfe
the.pl.dat child-pl-dat for their-f help(f)

Ihavethankedthechildrenfortheirhelp.

b. ich habe ihr-er


Hilfe
fr die
Kind-er ge-dank-t

I have their-f.dat help(f) for the.pl child-pl part-thank-part
c.

ich habe ihr-en


Hilfe-n fr das
Kind
ge-dank-t
I have their-pl.dat help-pl for the(n) child(n) part-thank-part

Note that despite the additional functional structure argued for in (91), in the
structures to follow, I will stick to the convention of representing the plural feature
under the same node as the root that it combineswith.
Let us now turn to the shift cases. As for the plural feature, my corpus contains
only seven errors which exemplify this type of feature manipulation. The error in
(93a) is the only one in which [+pl] is really shifted in the sense that it is detached
from one root and combines with another root. The plural feature is shifted from
buch (book) to schuber (slipcase) more precisely, from the head of the first
NumP to the head of the second NumP. Subsequently, the plural feature is copied
onto the definite article which is spelled out correctly. The DP vier Buch (four book),
however, is ungrammatical, simply because there is no way to adjust the numeral vier
to a singular noun. What is remarkable about this slip is the fact that the verb does
not accommodate to the new situation, that is, to the singular noun in subject position. This is unexpected given that the error must have taken place before features are
copied; otherwise accommodation of the determiner could not be explained. Possibly, insertion of the plural copula sind is motivated by the presence of the numeral.
Otherwise, we would have to assume that the plural feature is copied onto AgrS
before it is shifted to the following noun. This, in turn, would imply that subject-verb
agreement is established before DP-internal agreement and that an error can occur
between the two copy mechanisms. Given that my corpus contains only one error of
this type, I will not attempt to decide between these twoexplanations.
(93) a.

bei dieser Ausgabe sind vier Buch in den


Schuber-n,
in this edition be.pl four book in the.pl.dat slipcase-pl

h, vier Bch-er im
Schuber
er, four book-pl in.the.m.dat slipcase(m)

Inthisedition,therearefourbooksintheslipcase.

b. weil
er in den
letzte-n Woche-n sein-e Shn-e,

because he in the.pl.dat last-pl week-pl his-pl son-pl,

h, sein-en
Sohn nicht ge-seh-en
hat
er, his-m.acc son(m) not part-see-part have.3.sg

becausehehasntseenhissoninthelastweeks.

Grammar as Processor

In the other six shift errors, we are dealing with an anticipation or perseveration of
the plural feature rather than a true shift. That is, the plural feature appears twice
in the erroneous utterance. In (93b), for instance, the plural feature accompanying
woche (week) is perseverated in the DP containing sohn (son). The possessive
pronoun accommodates and the Vocabulary item /zo:n/ appears with the appropriate plural allomorph and undergoes phonological readjustment(umlaut).
5.4.2 Tense
The second feature to be considered in this section is the tense feature. Just like the
plural feature, the tense feature heads a projection of its own, a TnsP. In contrast to
the FP headed by [+pl], however, the TnsP is part of the CP domain. In the syntax, a
root that is licensed by a light verb will raise and adjoin to Tns and consequently, this
root and Tns are sisters under the Tns node. In an error, a root may be exchanged,
anticipated, or perseverated, leaving the adjacent Tns node behind. In other words:
the Tns information may be stranded. In addition, speech errors may involve
infinitival and/of participial verb forms. Leaving technicalities aside, I assume that
infinitivals adjoin to a Tns head that is specified for [tns] (or an empty Tns head)
and that the feature [+part] combines with the verb inside the verbphrase.
For illustration, consider the errors in (94) all of which involve the exchange
of roots. In (94a), schein (seem) and droh (impend) change place and adjoin
to the stranded [+past] and [tns] feature, respectively. In both slots, we observe
accommodation: the Vocabulary item that spells out droh takes the regular past
tense suffix -te and for the Vocabulary item that spells out schein, ablaut is not
triggered in the post-error environment. In (94b), the tensed verbs knnen (can)
and haben (have) are not affected in the error. Rather, in this slip, the roots fahr
(drive) and trink (drink) are exchanged and the stranded features are [tns]
and [+part]. In the English slip in (94c), just as in (94a), an infinitival form interacts with a past tense form (Garrett 1980b: 264). Both error elements undergo
accommodation, that is, stem-internal vowelchange.
(94) a.

es droh-te
zu schein-en, dass es schien
zu droh-en
it threat-past to seem-inf that it seem.past to threat-inf
Itseemedtoimpendthat

b. Mnner knn-en noch trink-en, wenn sie ge-fahr-en


hab-en

men
can-pl still drink-inf when they part-drive-part have-pl

knn-en noch fahr-en, wenn sie ge-trunk-en


hab-en
can-pl still drive-inf when they part-drink-part have-pl

Mencanstilldrivewhentheyhavedrunk(alcohol).

c. IdontknowthatIdhearoneifIknewit

thatIdknowoneifIheardit

Morphosyntactic features in language production

The syntactic structure for the error in (94a), after root exchange has taken place,
is given in (95). At the point of Vocabulary insertion, the regular past tense suffix /-t/ will spell out [+past] and the infinitival suffix /-n/ will spell out [tns].
Note, however, that strictly speaking, we are not in a position to decide whether
the two roots are actually exchanged after having been adjoined to Tns (as indicated in the below structure) or whether they are exchanged before head movement has applied, that is, while still taking the positions tL1 and tL2, respectively,
where, in fact, they are structurally closer to eachother.
(95)

CP
DP

[3rd]

Tns

TnsP

L1

Tns

[+]

tDP

Tns
LP

tTns

TnsP
DP
PRO

root exchange

tL1
Tns

LP
tL2

Tns
L2

Tns

[]

While my corpus contains 20 slips in which tense (or participial) information is


stranded, there are only two cases in which a tense feature is shifted from one Tns
node to a preceding or following Tns node. The latter phenomenon, that is, perseveration of a Tns feature, is exemplified by the error in (96a). In this error, the
feature [+past] combines with komm (come), thereby substituting the [tns]
feature. Consequently, both verbs appear in their past tense form which is realized
by ablaut on the verbkommen.
(96) a.

eigentlich woll-te
er kam,
h, komm-en
actually
want-past he come.past, er, come-inf
Actually,hewantedtocome.

Grammar as Processor

b. Iwinduprewrot-ingtwelvepages Iwounduprewriting
c. theyre just clouds that are been divert-ing, that are being divert-ed from
the North

Fay (1980b) and Stemberger (1985) report some spontaneous English errors
involving tense shift. In the extraordinary slip in (96b), the [+past] feature
is shifted from wind to rewrite, that is, in contrast to (96a), the first verb
loses its [+past] specification (Stemberger 1985: 163). In the intended utterance, however, rewrite is not supposed to appear with any tense feature at
all; rather, it is adjoined to an aspectual head containing a [+continuative]
feature. Interestingly, in the error, the aspectual feature is not substituted for
by the tense feature (which would have given rise to I wind up rewrote twelve
pages). Instead, the tense feature enriches the featural make-up of the structure under the aspectual node. Apparently, [+past] adjoins to the L-node
containing rewrite and this root is spelled out accordingly. Still, the aspectual feature which, of course, is incompatible with the feature [+past] is
also spelled out. (96c) is the only example in which two features (according to
Stemberger two affixes), namely [+past] and [+continuative], fully
exchange (Stemberger1985:163).
It has to be pointed out that, with regard to stranding and shift of the tense
feature, there are also some problematic cases which do not receive a straightforward explanation in the present framework.56 One such tricky case from my
corpus is given in (97a). At first sight, this error looks like a simple anticipation
of kauf (buy) with stranding of the feature [+part]. Note, however, that the
participle form of kaufen is gekauft, while verkauft (as it appears in the error) is
the participle form of the prefixed verb verkaufen (sell). Consequently, anticipation of kauf should have resulted in the sequence was ich ge-kauf-t habe. Obviously, the prefix ver- which is part of the intended verb vergessen (forget) was
left behind. This, however, excludes the possibility that vergess as a whole is
substituted for by kauf at MS. Alternatively, one might argue that it is not a root
that is anticipated but rather the phonological form /kauf/. This analysis would
locate the error at PF. Under this analysis, however, there is no way to account
for the accommodation of the participle suffix. If the error had in fact occurred
after Vocabulary insertion, then the ungrammatical utterance *was ich verkauf-en

. See Thompson (2004) for discussion of English and Spanish speech errors that involve
stranding or shift of tense features. In particular, she compares the involvement of auxiliary
verbs in speech errors in the two languages and interprets the attested differences in Lasniks
(1995) hybrid theory of verbal inflections.

Morphosyntactic features in language production

habe should have surfaced. Therefore, this error as simple as it may look at first
sight remainsunexplained.
(97) a.

ich wei,
was ich verkauf-t hab-e,
I know.1.sg what I
sell-part have-1.sg

was ich vergess-en hab-e


zu kauf-en
what I
forget-part have-1.sg to buy-inf

IknowwhatIforgottobuy.

b. Rosaonlydateshrank-s

Rosaonlydate-dshrink-s

Another particularly intriguing error is the one given in (97b) (Fromkin


1973a: 32). Reportedly, this slip was Victoria Fromkins favourite. It is certainly
one of the most-cited errors in the speech error literature. The error exemplifies the shift of the [+past] feature. In a model which endorses categorial
specification of terminal nodes, this feature is shifted from a verb to a noun.
In DM terms, however, the Tns node, which is sister to L1, is shifted prior to
Vocabulary insertion and adjoins to the acategorial l-node L2, as indicated in
the structure in (98). In contrast to the cases in (96), we cannot assume that
the feature [+past] is shifted because there is no Tns node under LP2 that this
feature couldtarget.
(98)

Tns
Tns
L1

LP1

tL1

DP
LP2

L2

shift of Tns node

L2

Tns

[+]

[+]

At PF, shrink, which is licensed by a determiner, will be spelled out by the


Vocabulary item /rik/. Subsequently, this Vocabulary item will undergo phonological readjustment (ablaut) in the context of the adjacent [+past] feature.

Grammar as Processor

Still, due to the [+pl] feature, Vocabulary insertion will also supply a plural suffix. What is probably most surprising about this particular error is the
fact that the Tns node adjoins to an l-node which is licensed by a determiner.
Apparently, the adjunction process in contrast to Vocabulary insertion is blind
with respect to the licensing environment of the node it targets (also see Leuninger
& Keller(1994:102f)).57
5.4.3 Negation
In Section 4.3.3, I have already considered the possible role of semantic negation
in speech errors. In this section, I shall have a closer look at slips that involve
morphological or syntactic negation. As has been pointed out before, both morphological and syntactic negation involve the presence of a morphosyntactic
feature [+neg]. In the former type of negation, [+neg] shares a terminal node
with a root, while in the latter type, the negative feature heads a functional projection of its own, a NegP (Pollock 1989; Haegeman 1995; Zanuttini 1997). Only
syntactic negation changes the polarity of the sentence (see Klima (1964) for a
number of tests that can serve as a diagnostic for negation type in English, for
instance, the tag-question test: syntactically negative sentences (He is not happy)
take positive tags, while morphologically negative sentences (He is unhappy)
take negativetags).
In German, too, speakers often have a choice between between a morphological and a syntactic strategy when it comes to expressing the negation of a
concept. For instance, in order to convey the message that something is not
clear, a speaker may either decide to use the morphologically complex word
unklar (unclear) or the phrase nicht klar (not clear), which involves the

. Besides tense features, mode features, which are taken to head a functional projection
of their own (be it MoodP, FinP, or some other functional projection), are also capable of
stranding and shift. While my corpus does not contain a relevant example, Meringer & Mayer
(1895:42) report errors in which the feature [+conditional] is shifted (also see the discussion in MacKay (1979)). For illustration, see the error in (i), in which the conditional feature
is anticipated and combines with the auxiliary verb haben (have).

(i)

ich erinner-e
mich, wie unser-e Lehrer
immer ge-sag-t
I remember-1.sg refl how our-pl teacher.pl always part-say-part

htte-n,
hab-en, es wre
ja
sehr schn
have.cond-pl, have-pl, it be.cond.3.sg mod.part very nice

I remember how our teachers always said, it would be very nice

Morphosyntactic features in language production

negative particle nicht. In fact, the speech error data in (99) suggest that there
are no unitary negative concepts (like, for example, unklar) but rather that
morphologically complex forms result from the combination of a basic concept
and a morphosyntactic feature[+neg].
The slip in (99a) is the only slip from my corpus in which a [+neg] feature is
stranded. Interestingly, the negative prefix accommodates to the anticipated root
relevant. In addition, my corpus contains seven slips in which a negative feature is shifted. In (99b), for instance, the adjectival root mglich (possible) in
the embedded clause is associated with a [+neg] feature. In the error, this feature
is anticipated into the matrix clause, where it does not morphologically combine
with some other root but rather enriches the syntactic structure by projecting a
NegP. Example (99c) is different from (99b) in two respects. First, it involves the
shift of [+neg] from a matrix into an embedded clause. Secondly, the negative
element retains its status as a negative particle, that is, it does not change from
morphological to syntacticnegation.
(99) a.

eine etwas
ir-relevante, h, un-deutliche,
a
somewhat neg-relevant, er, neg-clear,

relevante Aussage
relevant statement

asomewhatunclearbutstillrelevantstatement.

aber dennoch
but still

b. er hat nicht gesagt, dass es mglich ist, h, ich meine,



he has not said
that it possible is, er, I
mean,

er hat gesagt, dass es un-mglich ist


he has said
that it neg-possible is

Hehassaidthatitisimpossible.

c. mir gelingt
es, ihn nicht zu erreich-en

me succeed it, him not to reach-inf

mir gelingt es nicht, ihn zu erreich-en


me succeed it not, him to reach-inf

Idontsucceedingettingintouchwithhim.

In (100), I give a syntactic structure for the error in (99b). Note that the embedded CP in (100) has been extraposed, that is, right-adjoined to TnsP. As pointed
out above, I assume that the shifted [+neg] feature projects a NegP in the matrix
clause. Depending on the analysis of German sentential negation that one adopts,
it might, however, also be the case that Neg adjoins to an XP be it TnsP or LP1.
In any case, [+neg], when appearing on its own, will be spelled out by the Vocabularyitem /nit/.

Grammar as Processor

(100)

CP
DP
[3rd][]

C
Tns

NegP

[+] Neg
[+]

TnsP
TnsP

tDP

CP
Tns C
tTns DP

LP1
L1

[+]
shift of Neg
feature

TnsP

tCP

Tns

[3rd][N] LP2
LP3

Tns
tL2 L2

Tns
[]

For comparison, in (101), I cite three English slips which involve the manipulation of the feature [+neg]. In (101a), the negative feature accompanying
precise is anticipated and combines with regard (Fromkin 1973a: 32). As
in (99a), the negative prefix accommodates to the post-error environment. In
principle, the shift might also have resulted in the sequence I dont regard this as
precise, with the negative feature extending the syntactic structure in the same
way as in(99b).
Fromkin does not give an analysis for the error in (101b), but I suppose that
we are dealing with a special type of semantic substitution (Fromkin 1973b: 268).
Semantically, crazy and insane are very close to each other; the former is a root,
while the latter is a combination of sane and [+neg]. In the error, crazy takes
the place of sane. Consequently, the terminal node contains crazy as well as
[+neg]. There is, however, no Vocabulary item to match this feature combination
(that is, there is no Vocabulary item like uncrazy), and therefore Vocabulary insertion must resort to a syntactically complexparaphrase.
(101) a. Idis-regardthisasprecise Iregardthisasim-precise
b. Itellyouhesnotcrazy,Imean,hesin-sane
c. thebonsaididntdiebecauseIwateredit

thebonsaidiedbecauseIdidntwaterit

Morphosyntactic features in language production

Finally, the English slip in (101c) is similar to (99c) in that a syntactic [+neg] feature is shifted, in this case, anticipated from the embedded into the matrix clause
(Fromkin 1973b: 268). This error is particularly illuminating because, after the
shift, the presence of the negative feature triggers do-insertion in the matrix clause.
Remember that, according to Halle & Marantz (1993), English main verbs do not
raise to Tns. Rather, Tns merges with V resulting in the structure [V [V] [Tns]]
(see Section 3.2.2.2). Given that the presence of Neg prevents merger of Tns and
the matrix verb, the dummy element do has to be inserted in order to pick up
the Tns feature [+past]. Consequently, this particular error suggests that the Neg
shift has taken place before merger of Tns and V has occurred, since otherwise
do-insertion would not have been triggered and the ungrammatical utterance *the
bonsai not died because I did water it would havesurfaced.
I want to conclude this section with a note on Vocabulary insertion. With
respect to the negative prefixes that figure in the errors in (99a) and (101a), there
are actually two options with respect to Vocabulary insertion. On the one hand,
one may assume that the feature [+neg] and the root share one terminal node. In
this case, there will be one Vocabulary item that spells out the terminal node, as
indicated in (102a) for the error element in(99a).
(102) a. relevant
/irelevant/

[+neg]
b. [+neg]
/ir-/
/

relevant

Alternatively, one may assume that the terminal node containing relevant has
a branching structure with [+neg] being the sister node of the root. In this case,
the root and the negative feature (that is, the negative prefix) will be spelled out by
separate Vocabulary items. Clearly, in this case, the spell-out of [+neg] would be
context-sensitive, so that in the context of relevant it would be spelled out as
/ir-/ (102b), while in the intended utterance, that is, in the context of deutlich,
it would be spelled outas /n-/.
5.4.4 Gender
In Section 5.1, I have argued that gender is an inherent feature of roots and that
roots are drawn from List 1 and inserted into a syntactic structure along with their
gender feature. This implies that roots are more closely related to their gender
feature than they are, for instance, to the plural feature (the choice of which is triggered by the activation of a conceptual node multiple(x) at the conceptual level),
tense features, and the negation feature. Intuitively, it seems therefore unlikely that
a root could be accessed, for instance, exchanged, in an error leaving its gender
featurebehind.

Grammar as Processor

Let us still take a moment to speculate about what such an error might look like.
In contrast to the cases of plural stranding discussed in Section 5.4.1, a displaced
root would, of course, not be spelled out differently because of a stranded gender
feature with which it combines. The only errors which could possibly be analyzed as
instances of gender stranding are those in which a root is displaced without subsequent accommodation of the material in D to the gender feature of that root. There
are eight such cases in my corpus, seven root exchanges and one root anticipation.
For the sake of illustration, I give one of the exchange cases in (103). In this error,
haar (hair) and nase (nose) are exchanged and combine with the gendermarked indefinite and definite determiner, respectively, of the intended roots. Consequently, we observe feature mismatch within both DPs.
(103) ich hab
ein
Nase
auf der
Haar, h,
I have.1.sg a.n.acc nose(f) on the.f.dat hair(n), er,
ein
Haar
auf der
Nase
a.n.acc hair(n) on the.f.dat nose(f)
Ihaveahaironthenose.

A structure for the slip in (103) is given in (104). Following the exchange, the
stranded gender features will be copied onto the respective D-positions and the
Vocabulary items that best match the feature content of D will be inserted: the feature bundle [def][n][acc] will be spelled out by /ain/; the feature bundle [+def]
[f][dat] will be spelled out by /de:/. Note that following this interpretation of the
facts, the error in (103) does not really constitute an instance of feature mismatch
within DP, since the (stranded) gender features associated with the exchanged
roots and the gender features of the determiner domatch.
(104)

DPACC
LP1

D
[][]

PP

L1
[]

DPDAT

[auf]

LP2

[+][]

[]

root exchange

Morphosyntactic features in language production

A serious problem, however, concerns the insertion of Vocabulary items for the
exchanged roots. Remember that I have argued in Section 5.1.2 that not only
roots but also the corresponding Vocabulary items are specified for grammatical gender. Following this line of reasoning, the two Vocabulary items /ha:/ and
/na:z/ do not match the respective terminal nodes with respect to the gender
feature. Halle & Marantz (1993) point out that at the point of Vocabulary insertion, the Vocabulary is searched for the entry that best matches the content of a
given terminal node. While Vocabulary items may be underspecified for a given
feature contained in a terminal node, they may not conflict with a morphosyntactic feature present in that node. Consequently, the insertion of the Vocabulary
items /ha:/ and /na:z/ should beblocked.58
Given these problems, it seems much more likely that the root exchange in
(103) has taken place after the respective gender features have been copied onto
the determiners. Only under this assumption, we are in fact dealing with instances
of feature mismatch within DP, since the exchanged roots (which presumably take
along their gender feature) do not agree in gender with the accompanying determiners (see Section 6.7.1.2 for further discussion). I therefore conclude that in
German speech errors, gender stranding is notattested.59
My corpus contains ten spontaneous errors which I classifiy as gender shifts.
Two of these involve pronouns. Gender on pronouns is different, of course, from
the inherent gender specification of roots, because pronouns are nothing but bundles of morphosyntactic features. Hence, individual features can be accessed in an
error. In (105a), for instance, the gender features of a dative relative pronoun (masculine) and an adjacent nominative personal pronoun (feminine) areexchanged.

. The only way to save the gender stranding analysis would be to assume a flaw at the point
of Vocabulary insertion. That is, the Vocabulary items which best match the roots contained
in the terminal nodes are selected and inserted in spite of the feature conflict that arises.
However, an explanation along these lines, that is, the assumption of an additional error, seems
to be very unlikely.
. Note that this does not imply that gender stranding is ruled out in general. In languages
with morphological gender or noun class systems, one would expect the morphological exponents to be able to strand in a root exchange. For instance, Kihm (2005), who investigates noun
class in Manjaku (a Niger-Congo language spoken in Guinea-Bissau and South Senegal) and
gender in Spanish, suggests that the respective morphological markers head a functional projection which c-commands the root they attach to, similar to the plural feature in (91). The relevant functional projection is nP (see Section 6.4.2). Hence, a Spanish root like gat (cat) can
combine with the masculine suffix -o (class I) or the feminine suffix -a (class II). The root will
be attracted by the functional item and left-adjoin to it. Given that the gender (or noun class)
markers in these languages are not inherent features of roots, stranding should be possible.

Grammar as Processor

(105) a.

sie hat jemanden, mit der


er
zusammen
she has someone with who.sg.f.dat 3.sg.m.nom together

leb-t
mit dem
sie
leb-t
live-3.sg with who.sg.m.dat 3.sg.f.nom live-3.sg

Shehassomeonewithwhomshelivestogether.

b. mir
steht
die Schwei auf der
Stirn

1.sg.dat stand-3.sg the.f sweat(m) on the.f.dat forehead(f)

der Schwei auf der


Stirn
the.m sweat(m) on the.f.dat forehead(f)

Myforeheadisallsweaty.

c. niemand nimm-t ein


Blatt vor-s
Mund

noone take-3.sg a.n.acc leaf(n) in.front.of-the.n.acc mouth(m)

ein
Blatt vor
den
Mund
a.n.acc leaf(n) in.front.of the.m.acc mouth(m)

Nooneminceshiswords.

The other eight errors in the gender shift category are more equivocal with respect to
their classification. Consider, for instance the slip in (105b), in which we observe gender mismatch within the first DP. The fact that the masculine noun Schwei (sweat)
is accompanied by a feminine definite determiner is probably due to the presence
of the feminine noun Stirn (forehead). Hence, one might assume that the gender
feature of the second root was anticipated to the first root. In this case, the second
root does not loose its gender feature. Rather, just as in the [+pl] shift in (93b) and
the [+past] shift in (96a), the manipulated feature surfaces twice in the utterance.
However, given that the gender feature has to be copied onto the D-position, the slip
in (105b) might as well be analyzed as an instance of erroneous feature copy, that is,
long-distance gender feature copy from stirn onto the first determiner (note that
an analysis along similar lines is not available for (93b) and (96a)). In other words:
the feature that is responsible for the error is not shifted butcopied.
The same is true for the other seven slips in the gender shift category. For the
sake of illustration, I give one more example in (105c). Here, the gender feature of
blatt (leaf or sheet) appears to be perseverated. But again, the gender feature
might have been copied from blatt onto the determiner of the following DP
(which subsequently cliticizes to thepreposition).
Due to the scarcity of data and to the dubious status of the examples discussed
in this section, it is in contrast to the features [+pl], [+past], and [+neg] questionable whether gender features can in fact be manipulated, that is, whether roots
can be exchanged leaving their gender feature behind and whether a gender feature
alone can be shifted in an error. It is only for pronouns that the separation and
manipulation of a gender feature seems possible. Still, for the time being, I shall

Morphosyntactic features in language production

stick to the classification of the eight dubious cases as gender shift errors (see Table
(109)). I acknowledge, however, that they might better be analyzed as a special case
of long-distanceagreement.
5.4.5 Case
Last but not least, I shall discuss the manipulation of case features in language production. Once again, we are dealing with different structural facts. In contrast to
the features discussed in the previous sections, case features are neither associated
with an l-node nor are they base-generated under an f-node. Rather, case features
are assigned to a DP as a whole according to the case-assignment properties of
a lexical item. From the DP node, the case feature will percolate down to all elements dominated by this DP. In German, case features may influence the spell-out
of pronouns, roots, adjectives, anddeterminers.60
Actually, an example of case stranding has already been given in (105a) above.
This example has been discussed in the context of gender shift because the gender
features of the two pronouns involved are exchanged in the error. In addition,
however, the case features dative and nominative are stranded. The same is true
for the German error in (106a) and the English error in (106b) (Stemberger 1982a:
345), in both of which all features except for the case features are exchanged. In
(106b), case stranding is only obvious in the second position. There are also some
errors in which case stranding is observed when a root is manipulated. In (106c),
for instance, kind (child) and familie (family) are exchanged. The two DPs
containing these roots are assigned different case by the respective prepositions,
the first one accusative case and the latter one dative case. Case stranding is obvious in the second position because, in the plural, Kind is overtly marked for dative
case by means of anaffix.
(106) a.

ich
soll-te
doch
ihn,
h,
1.sg.nom shall-past mod.part 3.sg.m.acc, er,

er
soll-te
doch
mich
anruf-en
3.sg.m.nom shall-past mod.part 1.sg.acc call-inf

Hewassupposedtocallme.

b. youmustbetootightforthem theymustbetootightforyou

. In the following discussion, I will neglect the suggestion made in the literature that there
is a functional category related to case above the DP-level. Lamontagne & Travis (1986), for
instance, label the relevant functional projection K(ase)P and view it as the nominal parallel to
the clausal functional projection CP (see Lbel (1994) for further elaboration of that idea).

Grammar as Processor

c.

besonders
problematisch fr Familie-n aus auslndisch-en
particularly problematic
for family-pl from foreign-pl

Kind-er-n
Kind-er aus auslndisch-en Familie-n
child-pl-dat child-pl from foreign-pl
family-pl

particularlyproblematicforchildrenfromforeignfamilies.

My corpus contains 27 slips that are classified as case stranding errors. Note, however, that the term stranding may not be fully accurate in this context. In contrast
to other morphosyntactic features, case features are not drawn from List 1 for
insertion into a terminal node. That is, they do not necessarily share a terminal
node with other features or a root when the error occurs. Hence, it is quite possible
that the exchanges in (106) took place before the respective case features have percolated down to the terminal nodes. Use of the term stranding is therefore only
justified insofar as in the erroneous utterance, the same case features are assigned
to the same DPs as in the intendedutterance.
The structure in (107) illustrates the process that can be held responsible
for the error in (106a), namely exchange of features. As pointed out before, case
assignment is not affected in the error. When contained in a DP that is assigned
nominative case, the feature [1st] will be spelled out as /i/, while the combination
of [3rd] and [m] with accusative case will be spelled out as /i:n/.
(107)

CP
DPNOM
[1st]

C
Tns

TnsP

Tns

[+]

tDP

Tns
LP
DPACC
[3rd][]

tTns
L

tL

feature exchange

While in the above examples, case features are assigned to the same positions
within a syntactic structure before and after the exchange of features or roots has
taken place, in three errors in my corpus case features are shifted in the sense that
they are assigned to a different DP projection in the error. The verb ausspannen

Morphosyntactic features in language production

(to pinch) in (108a) requires three case-marked arguments, one nominative, one
accusative, and one dative. In the error, however, accusative case is assigned to both
object pronouns, thereby violating the subcategorization properties of theverb.
(108) a. ich bin mir fast
sicher, dass er sie
mich,
h,

I am refl almost sure
that he 3.sg.f.acc 1.sg.acc, er,

dass er sie
mir
ausspann-en
that he 3.sg.f.acc 1.sg.dat pinch-inf

woll-te
want-past

Iamalmostsurethathewantedtopinchherfromme.

b. ich mcht-e dir


ihn
wirklich vorstell-en,

I
want-1.sg 2.sg.dat 3.sg.m.acc really
introduce-inf

h, dich
ihm
er, 2.sg.acc 3.sg.m.dat

Ireallywanttointroduceyoutohim.

While the case perseveration in (108a) yields an ungrammatical utterance, the


case exchange in (108b) results in a grammatical utterance. The verb vorstellen (to
introduce) also requires a nominative, an accusative, and a dative argument. Since
the order of accusative and dative arguments is fairly free in German, the erroneous utterance in (108b) is not ungrammatical. Therefore, only the self-correction
reveals that an error has occurred. Obviously, however, the reversal of case assignment also reverses the meaning, that is, who is introduced to whom (see Meringer
& Mayer (1895:26) for discussion of similarcases).
5.4.6 Summary
In this section, I have considered the possibility of shift and stranding of various
morphosyntactic features in language production, namely of the features [+pl],
[+neg] and of tense, gender, and case features. These features are either drawn
from List 1 or are assigned in the course of the derivation. Given the manipulation and assignment of these features prior to Vocabulary insertion, I considered
it worthwhile to investigate whether they may participate in spontaneous speech
errors. As expected, errors involving morphosyntactic features are observed. The
distribution of stranding and shift errors across the different features is specified
in Table(109).61

. Table (2) in Chapter 1 lists 133 errors in the category stranding or shift of abstract
feature because, in addition to the 116 errors in which morphosyntactic features are stranded/
shifted, this group also contains the 17 cases discussed in Section 4.3, which involve stranding/
shift of a compositional semantic feature.

Grammar as Processor

(109) Distribution of errors involving feature stranding/shift (n =116)


Morphosyntactic feature

stranding

shift

number: [+pl]
tense: [+past], [tns], [+part]
person: [1st], [2nd], [3rd]
negation: [+neg]
gender: [m], [f], [n]
case: [nom], [acc], [dat]

23
20
8
1
27

7
2
8
7
10
3

Total

79

37

Clearly, the way in which a particular feature enters the computational system, its
participation in structure building, and its manipulation in the syntax differ from
feature to feature. Generally, features that project their own functional projection
can be stranded in an error. This is frequently observed with the feature [+pl] and
with tense features. In contrast, shift of these features is rare. Negation is different in that it may either head a functional projection or combine with a root. The
numbers in the table make it look like as if negation is more frequently shifted
than stranded. These numbers may be misguiding, however, since in the stranding
category, only cases were considered in which morphological negation is stranded
in a root exchange, as, for instance, (99a). Cases in which two (verbal) roots are
exchanged while a negative particle stays in place are attested but have not been
included in this category although, strictly speaking, they also involve stranding
of[+neg].62
I have not discussed cases in which a person feature is stranded or shifted.
Still, I wish to point out that for these features, the stranding and shift cases constitute different phenomena. In all the stranding cases, verbal agreement is stranded
in a root exchange or blend (see, for example, the slip in Footnote 62). In contrast,
shift of a person feature is only observed with pronouns. The slip in (106a), for

. In the example in (i), for instance, behaupt (claim) and kenn (know) have been
exchanged. The negative feature [+neg] within the infinitival complement, however, remains
in place and projects a NegP. In this sense, negation is stranded in the error. Note also that the
person feature [3rd] in the matrix clause as well as the tense feature [tns] in the embedded
clause are stranded.

(i)

er kenn-t
sie nicht
he know-3.sg her not

er behaupt-et
he claim-3.sg

He claims not to know her.

zu behaupt-en
to claim-inf

sie nicht zu kenn-en


her not to know-inf

Morphosyntactic features in language production

instance, which has been presented as an example of case stranding, also exemplifies the exchange of person features. Actually, in this example, the exchange of the
features [1st] and [3rd] (in combination with [m]) constitutes the real error, while
case stranding could be argued to be a by-product (also see (13) in Chapter6).
Gender features are the only features that are not capable of stranding. This
is not surprising, given that gender features, in contrast to all the other features,
are inherently specified for roots. Due to this tight link, gender features cannot be
detached from a root in a root exchange, anticipation, or perseveration. Gender
shift is attested but we have seen that the only true cases of gender shift are those
in which a gender feature is part of a feature bundle that will be spelled out as a
pronoun. Crucially, in this case, the gender feature is not an inherent feature but
is drawn from List 1 on its own. I have also argued that other cases that are subsumed in the gender shift category are probably better analyzed as instances of
long-distance gender copy. Finally, case features are commonly stranded in root
and feature exchanges, while shift, that is, wrong assignment of a case feature,
appears to be an uncommon phenomenon. We have to keep in mind, however,
that the manipulation of case features differs from that of other morphosyntactic
features because case features are not drawn from List 1. Rather, they are assigned
to DPs in the course of the derivation. Hence, case stranding does not involve case
features that are left behind in some terminal node. Rather, it implies assignment
of case to a DP that contains a displacedroot.

5.5 Conclusion
The wealth of speech error data discussed in this section leaves little doubt about
the crucial role the manipulation of morphosyntactic features plays in the course
of language production. In order to account for the error patterns, three types
of feature manipulation have to be distinguished: feature copy, feature stranding,
and feature shift. The above discussion has made clear that feature copy plays two
distinct roles. On the one hand, copy processes may ensure that a grammatical
utterance surfaces after an error has taken place. In this case, the context of a substituted or displaced root accommodates to the gender feature of that root. We
have seen that the attested accommodation patterns are in line with the predictions made on the basis of the DM architecture: accommodation is only observed
for errors that occur before or at the level of MS, the level at which agreement relations are established (note that gender feature copy will make another appearance
in Section 6.2.1). On the other hand, feature copy can also be the cause of an error
in cases where an erroneous target is chosen for agreement feature copy. In most
of the errors involving feature mismatch, the erroneous target be it a verb or a

Grammar as Processor

pronoun is linearly closer to the agreement controller than the correct target.
Interestingly, however, we also find a fair number of errors in which the mismatch
is due to long-distanceagreement.
In feature shift, just as in feature copy, it is the morphosyntactic feature itself
that is manipulated in the error. In a shift error, the relevant feature is not copied,
that is, no agreement relation is involved. Rather, some feature present in the hierarchical structure appears under a wrong functional node. Feature shift is either
replacing (for instance, when a tense feature takes the place of another tense feature) or structure-building (as in some cases of [+neg] shift). Moreover, a shifted
feature may disappear from its original position (true shift) or may appear twice
in the structure as a result of feature anticipation or perseveration. Feature stranding is different from both feature copy and feature shift because it is a defining
characteristic of stranding that some element an affix or a feature is not affected
in the error. Still, just like the feature shift cases, stranding errors prove that morphosyntactic features can be separated from a root or from other morphosyntactic
features they accompany. Some consequences of feature stranding for spell-out
and phonological readjustment will be discussed in more detail in Section6.3.

chapter 6

Rethinking accommodation
Much of the preceding chapter was devoted to the discussion of spontaneous errors
that result in an ungrammatical utterance, for instance, all types of SVA-errors and
most of the feature shift cases. In addition, however, I have already presented slips
in which a grammatical string surfaces thanks to a post-error repair process commonly referred to as accommodation. In Section 5.1, for instance, we have seen
that following a semantic substitution or a root exchange, a gender accommodation may prevent a gender mismatch withinDP.
In this chapter, I will have a closer look at various types of accommodation
from a DM-perspective. Accommodations have fascinated psycholinguists for
quite some time because of their multifarious and complex nature. As has already
been pointed out in Section 1.3.4, Garrett (1980b: 263) defines accommodations as
errors in which the phonetic shape of elements involved in errors accommodates
to the error-induced environment. He takes accommodations to be a particularly
clear piece of evidence for the existence of several distinct processing levels in language production (see Section 3.1.1). At one level, the actual error occurs, while
at a subsequent level, the structure resulting from the error is brought in line with
some grammaticalconstraint.
The main goal of this chapter is to demonstrate that the concept accommodation, as defined in the speech error literature, is superfluous. In a nutshell,
I will argue that the assumption of repair processes is unnecessary once we make
use of derivational operations as assumed in DM operations like feature copy,
licensing, morpheme insertion, and phonological readjustment. I will start out
by presenting a comprehensive typology of accommodations in Section 6.1. In
Section 6.2, I will consider the first relevant mechanism, feature copy. In speech
errors, feature copy ensures that agreement targets surface in a properly inflected
form. The crucial role of two further mechanisms, stranding and local licensing,
will be discussed in Sections 6.3 and 6.4. Both these mechanisms make sure that
error elements surface in a phonologically and morphologically appropriate form.
In Section 6.5, I present a detailed analysis of two particularly complex slips in
order to further illustrate the application of the DM-mechanisms discussed in
Sections 6.2 to 6.4. Section 6.6 summarizes the arguments against repair strategies
and also presents errors that may contradict my general conclusion that repairs play

Grammar as Processor

no role in the course of language production. Finally, in Section 6.7, I turn to some
remaining issues concerning repairs. I will, for instance, address the question why
despite the mechanisms argued for in the previous sections accommodation is
not always observed in speecherrors.

6.1 A typology of accommodations


For Garrett, the element whose phonetic form changes due to a speech error
(see the above quote) may either be the error element itself or the environment in which the error element appears in the error. This division reflects the
distinction between error and context accommodation already introduced in
Section 1.3.4. For the sake of illustration, consider the examples in (1). In
(1a) the exchange of /l/ and // is followed by accommodation of the indefinite article (as in previous chapters, the accommodation site is underlined). In
this case, accommodation of the context ensures that the phonologically deviant string *a anguage does not surface (Garrett 1980b: 263). In contrast, in the
root exchange in (1b), both error elements undergo a phonological change
(Garrett 1980b: 264). Hence, (1a) is classified as a context accommodation, while
(1b) constitutes an erroraccommodation.

(1) a. an anguage lacquisition problem a language acquisition problem

b. I dont know that Id hear one if I knew it



that Id know one if I heard it

In the following, I will propose a typology of accommodation phenomena that


goes beyond the general dichotomy of context versus error accommodations. In
particular, I will suggest to group accommodations with respect to the grammatical level at which the accommodation applies.1 The four types of accommodation
processes I distinguish are phonological, morphophonological, morphological, and morphosyntactic accommodation. In the following four subsections,
I will make use of examples from various languages in order to illustrate the
fourtypes.

. See Berg (1987) for a different classification. Berg proposes two parameters. The first one
concerns the character of the accommodation process itself (phonological, morphological,
or lexical), while the second one takes into account what kind of element is displaced in the
error (phoneme, morpheme, or word). The combination of the two parameters results in nine
different categories.

Rethinking accommodation

6.1.1 Phonological accommodation


In Section 2.2.1, I have already presented evidence for the processing of phonological features during language production. Phonological accommodations, that is,
cases in which a segment changes with respect to one (or more) of its phonological
features, are further proof of the psychological reality of sublexical structure. In
(2), I present three examples one German, one French, one Dutch to illustrate
the phenomenon. Note that in all three cases, it is the context of the error element
that undergoes a featuralchange.
In (2a), the vowel /o:/ is perseverated together with its phonological feature
[+tense] and takes the position of the lax vowel /a/ in [kasl]. The tenseness of this
vowel requires that the adjacent fricative /s/ surfaces as [tense]. Hence, in the
error, the fricative is accommodated. In the French example in (2b), the consonant
/l/ is anticipated (Rossi & Defare 1995:7). In this case, it is a vowel that accommodates: due to the adjacent /l/, the first // in colvol appears in its non-nasalized
form, while in the intended word this vowel would have been nasalized because of
the adjacent nasal.
(2) a. wohnt er in Kosel [o:z],

lives he in Kosel,

Does he live in Kassel?

h, in Kassel [as]?
er, in Kassel

b. ils ont colvol [kl] en justes noces



they have (error) in right wedding(celebration)

ils
ont convol [k]
they have married

They got married in a decent wedding celebration.

c. pankeren [pak]

(error)

to camp

kamper-en [kamp]
camp-inf

Nasality is also relevant in the Dutch error in (2c) in which the consonants /k/ and
/p/ are exchanged (Cohen 1965:183). Following the exchange, the labial assimilates to the place features of the following velar and surfaces as the velar nasal[].
6.1.2 Morphophonological accommodation
We are to speak of a morphophonological accommodation whenever phonologically triggered allomorphy has an impact on the surface form of a slip. That is, after
the error has taken place, the allomorph that is appropriate for the error element(s)
is selected. In English, for instance, choice of a plural suffix is determined by phonological properties of the stem to which it attaches. In the root exchange in (3a),
the plural suffix accommodates to the error element cow (Fromkin 1973a: 27).

Grammar as Processor

Allomorphy also plays an important role in Turkish. In Turkish, the choice of suffixes is determined by vowel harmony. Turkish shows the characteristic pattern of
a symmetric vowel harmony system, that is, only suffixes alternate and the alternating suffix vowels harmonize with the nearest stem vowel with respect to certain
phonological features. The error in (3b) is due to a vowel exchange. Following the
error, all three suffixes of the resulting stem harmonize; the first one with the stem,
the following ones with the respective preceding suffix.2 Hence, the resulting nonexisting word is phonologicallywell-formed.

(3) a. track cow-s [z] cow track-s [s]

b. hukumet kr-l-me-si
hkmet
kur-ul-ma-s

(error) (error)-pass-nmlz-poss government form-pass-nmlz-poss

formation of a government
c. give the [] nipple an [n] infant the [i:] infant a [] nipple

In contrast to plural suffixes, English definite and indefinite determiners are


free morphemes. Still, their phonological form depends on the noun they combine with, in particular, on whether the noun begins with a vowel or a consonant. Therefore, in (3c), both determiners accommodate to the exchanged nouns
(Garrett1976:238).
Note that phonological and morphophonological accommodations will not
figure in the discussion of DM-mechanisms in Sections 6.2 to 6.5. They will only
be briefly reconsidered in Section 6.6.1. In contrast, the morphological and morphosyntactic accommodations to be presented in the next two subsections will
play a central role in my re-evaluation of accommodation phenomena within the
DMframework.
6.1.3 Morphological accommodation
Morphological accommodations come in three different types; they can either
have an impact on the selection of an inflectional morpheme, a derivational morphemes, or the form of a stem. Let us consider the inflectional cases first. In contrast
to English and Turkish, in German, the selection of a plural allomorph is triggered
by morpholexical rules, that is, the choice of allomorph cannot be predicted on
the basis of phonological properties of the stem. Rather, the choice of plural affix

. I am indebted to Bn Ergnal for supplying the Turkish speech error. Note that Turkish
employs two intersecting vowel harmony systems, one involving [back] and the other
[round] (see Clements & Sezer (1982) for details). The letter // represents the [+high]
counterpart to /a/, that is, a vowel which is characterized by the features [+high], [+back],
and [round].

Rethinking accommodation

is largely arbitrary for a given stem.3 Therefore, the accommodation of English


and German plural allomorphs constitutes different phenomena: in the former
case, we are dealing with morphophonological, in the latter with morphological
accommodation. In (4a), the two stems Arbeit (work) and Monat (month) are
exchanged and Arbeit surfaces in its new environment with the appropriate plural
suffix. Errors of this type will be subject to further discussion in Section6.3.3.
(4) a.

g e-monat-ete
Arbeit-en ge-arbeit-ete
Monat-e
part-month-part work-pl part-work-part month-pl
months in which one has worked

b. das war zufllig


die Wohn-ung, h, die Strae,

that was coincidentally the.f live-nmlz(f), er, the.f street(f)

in der
er wohn-t
in which he live-3.sg

Coincidentally, it was the street in which he lives.

c. I think its care-ful to measure with reason



its reason-able to measure with care

Example (4b) illustrates a morphological accommodation by means of insertion of


a derivational morpheme. The stem wohn (live) is anticipated from a verbal into a
nominal slot. In its post-error position, it combines with the required nominalizing
suffix -ung (note that Wohnung means apartment or flat). A similar phenomenon
is observed in the English slip in (4c) (Fromkin 1973a: 31). In this slip, however,
it is an adjectival suffix that is adjusted. Also, in the intended utterance, the error
element reason is accompanied by a different derivational morpheme. I will come
back to speech errors involving derivational morphemes in Section6.4.2.
While the errors in (4) can all be analyzed as context accommodations,
there are also error accommodations that can be classified as morphological
. As already mentioned in Section 5.2.2.7, German has five plural suffixes: -, -e, -er, -(e)n,
and -s. The first three of these suffixes may be accompanied by umlaut. The fact that, for most
nouns, the choice of suffix is idiosyncratic is illustrated by the examples (i) and (ii). In the two
nouns Haus (house) and Maus (mouse), the phonological environment for the plural suffix
(the rhyme) is exactly the same. Nevertheless, they take different plural suffixes (both of which
are accompanied by umlaut). Example (ii) is even more striking in that we are dealing with two
homonymous lexical items. Again, these nouns take different suffixes. In addition, only the first
one undergoes umlaut formation (see Kpcke (1993) for discussion of German pluralization).

(i) Haus
Hus-er
house
houses
(ii)

Bank
Bnk-e
bench
benches

Maus
Mus-e
mouse
mice
Bank
Bank-en
bank
banks

Grammar as Processor

accommodations. These are the cases in which a stem involved in the error is
spelled out differently because of a different categorial specification. In (5), I cite
two errors of this type. The German noun Flughafen (airport) contains the stem
flieg (fly) in its nominalized form (Flug). In the anticipation in (5a), Flug takes
the position of the verb fahr (go) in which it does not retain its stem vowel.
In other words, the anticipated stem accommodates to the categorial specification of its landing site. I consider this a morphological accommodation because
noun-verb conversion be it by means of affixation (4b) or stem-internal change
(5a) is a morphological process. Crucially, we are not dealing with a phonological accommodation because the stem-internal phonological change is not
caused by some adjacentsegment.
(5) a. die S8 flieg-t zum Flug-hafen fhr-t zum Flug-hafen

the S8 fly-3.sg to.the flight-port go-3.sg to.the flight-port

The S8 (train) goes to the airport.
b. will-st
du
den Gang, h, die Treppe runter-geh-en

want-2.sg you(sg) the.m aisle(m), er, the.f stairs(f) down-go-inf

Do you want to go down the stairs?

(5b) shows the opposite pattern of (5a). In this error, the error element geh (go) is
anticipated from a verbal slot into a nominal slot. The nominalized form surfacing
in the error is Gang, which can mean various things but is best translated as aisle
(or corridor) in the present context. Errors like those given in (5) will receive a
more detailed analysis in Section6.4.1.
6.1.4 Morphosyntactic accommodation
Let us now turn to the fourth and final type of accommodation, the morphosyntactic ones. We are dealing with a morphosyntactic accommodation whenever the
structure of an utterance is adjusted with respect to some morphosyntactic feature
after the error has taken place. Again, we have to distinguish context from error
accommodations. In the context accommodation in (6a), both determiner positions accommodate to the gender features of the exchanged nouns, the masculine
noun Faden (thread) and the feminine noun Nadel (needle). Similarly, in the
Spanish error in (6b), the indefinite determiner of the first DP accommodates to the
gender feature of duro (five pesetas) (Garcia-Albea, del Viso & Igoa1989:152).4

. In contrast to the examples (6a) and (6b), the exchange in (i) is ambiguous. Since both
DPs contain a definite determiner, it cannot be decided whether the error should be analyzed
as a DP-exchange with stranding of case features (nominative and accusative), or as an NPexchange with subsequent morphosyntactic accommodation of the two determiners.

Rethinking accommodation

(6) a.

wie man ein-e


Nadel
in den
Faden
krieg-t
how one a-f.acc needle(f) in the.m.acc thread(m) get-3.sg

ein-en Faden
in die
Nadel
a-m.acc thread(m) in the.f.acc needle(f)

how one gets a thread through (the eye of) the needle

b. un duro
de veinte moneda-s

a.m 5.pesetas(m) of twenty coin-pl

una moneda de veinte duro-s


a.f coin(f) of twenty 5.peseta-pl

a one hundred pesetas coin

The slips in (7) illustrate another type of morphosyntactic context accommodation,


the accommodation of verbal agreement. In both errors, pronouns (or features;
see Section 5.4) are exchanged and the respective verbs are spelled out according to the features of the element occupying the subject position. In the German
error (7a), the accommodation involves the selection of a different suffix, while
in the English error (7b), it involves a suppletive form of the copula (Stemberger
1982a: 344). In both cases, an ungrammatical utterance is avoided thanks to the
accommodatoryprocess.
(7) a.

du
sag-st
ja
nicht, h, ich sag-e
ja
nicht,
you(sg) say-2.sg mod.part not, er, I say-1.sg mod.part not

dass du
schuld bist
that you(sg) guilty be.2.sg

I dont say that you are guilty.

b. youre too good for that thats too good for you
c.

ich las
ihm, h, ich empfahl
ihm, den Artikel zu les-en
I read.past him, er, I advise.past him the article to read-inf
I advised him to read the article.

Occasionally, the error element itself changes under the influence of some morphosyntactic feature. Consider, for instance, the anticipation in (7c), in which the
stem les (read) changes its form because it combines with the morphosyntactic


(i)

mir ist der


Boden
auf das
Bild,
me is the.m.nom ground(m) on the.n.acc picture(n),

das
Bild
auf den
Boden
ge-fall-en
the.n.nom picture(n) on the.m.nom ground(m) part-fall-part

I have dropped the picture on the ground.

Grammar as Processor

feature [+past]. Note that this kind of phonological change is different from the ones
observed in (5). In both errors in (5), the original position of the error element has
a categorial specification different from that of its landing site. In contrast to that, in
(6c), the error element is moved from one verbal slot to another verbal slot. Hence, it
is only the morphosyntactic specification that can be held responsible for the surface
form of the error element. I will return to morphosyntactic context accommodations
in Section 6.2 and to morphosyntactic error accommodations in Section6.3.
6.1.5 Summary
Citing speech errors from various languages, I have argued that four types of
accommodation should be distinguished, namely phonological, morphological,
morphophonological, and morphosyntactic accommodation. In principle, all four
types may come as context and error accommodations. Without going into details,
I want to point out that this classification is quite different from the one proposed
by Berg (1987). For instance, for Berg, the errors involving accommodation of
English determiners (3c) and German plural (4a) or agreement (7a) suffixes are
all examples of morphological accommodation since, following the error, a different morpheme combines with the error element. Such an interpretation, however,
disguises the fact that the selection of the respective morphemes is conditioned by
different factors in these threeerrors.
In an attempt to characterize accommodations, Berg (1987: 277) states that
an accommodation is a process whereby a processing conflict between the actual
error and the context of the original utterance is reconciled. He takes this as evidence for the fact that the processing system is sensitive to the eventual output
and concludes that accommodations can therefore be considered a blind repair
process which brings utterances in line with linguistic constraints. In the remainder of this chapter, I will challenge this characterization. In contrast to Berg, I am
going to claim (a) that no processing conflict is reconciled in an accommodation,
(b) that therefore no repair strategy is involved, and (c) that output-oriented processing need not be assumed. In other words, I will argue that the concept accommodation, while being a convenient descriptive label for various error types, does
not have any theoretical significance at least not when we employ the theoretical
tools made available by DM (also see Pfau(2007)).
6.2 Feature copy
The first mechanism that will help us to account for the so-called accommodations is feature copy. Remember that according to DM, the only elements that

Rethinking accommodation

enter the computation are abstract roots and morphosyntactic features. Agreement relations are established at MS, that is, before Vocabulary insertion takes
place, by copying the relevant morphosyntactic features from an agreement controller onto a functional head. In the German speech errors, two types of feature
copy are of interest: copy of gender and number features within DP (Section
6.2.1) and copy of person and number features from the subject onto the AgrS
node (Section6.2.2).
6.2.1 Gender agreement
Actually, not much has to be said about gender agreement because the phenomenon has already been discussed in the context of gender accommodations in
Section 5.1.2.1. For the sake of completeness, I will repeat the basic facts and
discuss one more example (also see (6a) in the precedingsection).
In German, the roots that are selected from List 1 are specified for gender, that
is, they are linked to a gender feature which the feature copy mechanism at MS
can access. Crucially, correct insertion of a Vocabulary item into a terminal node
that is underspecified for gender (for instance, into D0) could not be guaranteed.
In (8), the roots tasse (cup) and sprung (crack) have been exchanged. The
two roots have different gender features and these features are copied onto the
determiners after the error has takenplace.
(8) a.

oh, der
Sprung hat
ja
ein-e
Tasse
oh, the.m.nom crack(m) has.3.sg mod.part a-f.acc cup(f)

die
Tasse hat
ja
ein-en
Sprung
the.f.nom cup(f) has.3.sg mod.part a-m.acc crack(m)

Oh, the cup is cracked.

b. er kann
kein-e
Fliege trb-en kein
Wsser-chen

he can.3.sg no-f.acc fly(f) cloud-inf no.n.acc water-dim(n)

trb-en
// kein-er
Fliege was
zuleide tun
cloud-inf // no-f.dat fly(f) something harm do.inf

Butter wouldnt melt in his mouth//He wouldnt hurt a fly.

Gender accommodation is not only observed in root exchanges but also in


semantic substitutions (see Section 5.1.3), root anticipations and perseverations, and blends. In (8b), I give one blend example. In this error, two idiomatic
expressions are in competition: kein Wsserchen trben (butter wouldnt melt
in her/his mouth) and keiner Fliege was zuleide tun (wouldnt hurt a fly). Both
expressions contain the negative indefinite kein (no) but nouns of different gender. In the error, fliege (fly), which is specified for feminine gender, intrudes

Grammar as Processor

into the competing planning frame and subsequently, its gender feature is copied
ontoD0.5
Assuming that both errors occur before features are copied and Vocabulary
items are inserted, we must not resort to any accommodatory process. These
mechanisms are automatic and they apply in the errors in exactly the same way
as they would have applied in the intended utterances. Or, to put it differently, the
determiners need not be accommodated because they are not yet present when
the error occurs. Rather, at this point, the determiner positions only contain the
features [def] (8a) or [def] and [+neg] (8b). After feature copy and case assignment has taken place, the Vocabulary items given in (9) will be inserted into the
respective D0-positions at PF (remember that I argued in Section 5.2.2.5 that List
1 does not contain a feature[pl]).
(9) a. [+def] [m] [nom]

b. [def] [f] [acc]

c. [def] [+neg] [f] [acc]

/de:/
/ain/
/kain/

Note that the Vocabulary items given in (9b) and (9c) are probably too simplistic.
It is quite likely that the feature [def] and the feature combination [+neg][def]
are spelled out by one Vocabulary item, while a separate item (the suffix /-/) will
be inserted for the feature combination[f][acc].
6.2.2 Subject-verb agreement
The argument for subject-verb agreement is basically the same as for gender
agreement. As before, I argue that feature copy at MS ensures that a functional
element here: an agreement suffix is correctly spelled out and that therefore, no
repair process is involved in theerror.
In principle, there are two scenarios in which the adaptation of agreement
may be required in a speech error. In the first case, a root is dislocated together

. Generally, a phrasal blend can be equated with a substitution process (Wiegand 1996). In
(8b), it is clear that Fliege is the intruding element. In the blend in (i), however, the two competing frames have the same syntactic structure, namely [DP D Adj NP]. It is therefore impossible to decide whether the noun or the adjective is the intruder. Still, under both analyses, the
gender feature will be copied from the noun onto the adjective after the error has taken place.

(i)

das ist wirklich ein dick-es


Stck
that is really
a.n thick-n.nom piece(n)

ein dick-er
Hund //
a.m thick-m.nom dog(m) //

Thats really a bit much//a bit thick!

ein stark-es
Stck
a.n heavy-n.nom piece(n)

Rethinking accommodation

with the feature [+pl] and takes the place of a singular root (in subject position).
Remember, however, from the discussion in Section 5.4.1 that this error type
is infrequent because in most cases, the plural feature is stranded. One of the
few examples is given in (10a). In this slip, student (student) is anticipated
together with its plural feature. In other words, the NumP is anticipated. The
plural feature is not only copied onto D0 but also onto AgrS. The second scenario
involves pronouns, that is, bundles of features. In this case, the verb may adapt to
the pronoun in subject position with respect to person and/or number features.
In (10b), the feature [2nd] replaces the features [3rd] and [m], the feature [2nd]
is copied onto AgrS, and the agreement suffix is spelled outaccordingly.
(10) a.

die
Student-en hab-en, h, der
D. hat
the.pl student-pl have-pl, er, the.m D. have.3.sg

einige seiner
Student-en durchfall-en lass-en
some of.his.pl student-pl fail-inf
let-inf

D. has failed some of his students.

b. du
denk-st
wohl,
h, er denk-t
wohl

you(sg) think-2.sg probably, er, he think-3.sg probably

dass du
fr den
Job nicht
that you(sg) for the.acc job not

geeignet
suitable

He probably thinks that you are not suitable for the job.

bist
be.2.sg

Again, I want to stress that it is not the case that the agreement suffixes accommodate to the new situation. Rather, they simply spell out the features that have been
copied onto AgrS after the error has taken place. The relevant Vocabulary items for
the error elements in (10) are listed in(11).
(11) a. hab

[+pl]

/ha:b/
/-n/

b. denk

[2nd]

/d7k/
/-st/

6.2.3 Summary
Traditionally, all of the errors I discussed in this section would be considered context accommodations. Moreover, according to the typology I proposed in Section
6.1, they would be classified as morphosyntactic. I have claimed, however, that all
morphosyntactic context accommodations are in fact the result of feature copy.
Clearly, the relevant process is morphosyntactic in nature, but accommodation
is not involved in these errors. Rather, the grammatical outcome results from the
application of a mechanism which according to DM is an essential part of the
derivation anyway. Table (12) shows the distribution of errors from my corpus in

Grammar as Processor

which a grammatical outcome is due to feature copy (remember from the discussion in Sections 5.2 and 5.3 that feature copy may also be erroneous, thereby giving
rise to an ungrammaticalutterance).
(12) Slips involving feature copy following the actual error (n =103)
feature copy within DP
genderfeature
numberfeature
feature copy onto AgrS
caseassignment
Total

88
83
5
13
2
103

Table (12) also includes two special cases which I did not address in this section.
These are errors in which, following a root exchange, a different case is assigned to
a DP. Note, however, that one of these errors will be subject to detailed discussion
in Section6.5.2.

6.3 Feature stranding


By now, it has become clear that the manipulation of morphosyntactic features
can be held responsible for a multitude of speech errors. Morphosyntactic features
will also figure prominently in this section. While the previous section focused
entirely on the so-called context accommodations, the error types to be discussed
in this section are somewhat more diverse. What they have in common, however,
is that in all of them, the surface form of an error element is due to stranding of a
morphosyntactic feature (of the type discussed in Section 5.4). Referring back to
the different accommodation types, the errors I will reconsider below are of two
different types: morphosyntactic error accommodations and morphological context accommodations. We will see that within the former group, different types of
mechanisms may account for the surface form of anutterance.
In a nutshell, I am going to argue that a considerable number of slips that have
been analyzed as accommodations are in fact the result of feature stranding. Generally, morphosyntactic features that are stranded in a spontaneous speech error can
have an influence on the spell-out of an element contained in the erroneous utterance. More precisely, a stranded feature can have an effect on the spell-out of a feature
bundle which it is part of (Section 6.3.1) or on the spell-out of a root that it combines
with (Section 6.3.2). In addition, the stranded feature may be spelled out by a different allomorph because of its combination with another root (Section6.3.3).

Rethinking accommodation

6.3.1 Spell-out of feature bundles


The focus of this section will be on errors involving pronouns. Pronouns spell out
bundles of morphosyntactic features contained in a terminal node. In the German
pronominal system the relevant features drawn from List 1 are person, number,
and (in the third person) gender features. Moreover, the DP that contains the feature bundle will be assigned a case feature atMS.
In Section 5.4.5, I already presented a couple of slips in which a feature that
constitutes part of a feature bundle is either stranded or shifted. In (13), I present
two more errors of the stranding type. (13a) involves a dative and a possessive
pronoun (which is characterized by the additional feature [+poss]). While person
and gender features are exchanged in this error, in (13b), a person feature is perseverated. In all cases, the feature bundles are spelled out by a different Vocabulary
item after the error hasoccurred.
(13) a. dass ihr
mein

that 3.sg.f.dat 1.sg.poss.m

Film,
dass
movie(m), that

ihr
Film
so gut
3.sg.f.poss.m movie(m) so well

that I liked her movie so much.

mir
1.sg.dat

gefall-en
hat
please-part have.3.sg

b. ich
soll am Montag zu mir
komm-en

1.sg.nom shall on Monday to 1.sg.dat come-inf

zu ihm
komm-en
to 3.sg.m.dat come-inf

I am supposed to come to him on Monday.

Berg (1987) analyzes all errors of this type as error accommodations. In particular, he argues that the exchanged or perseverated pronouns accommodate to the
syntactic environment in which they appear after the error has taken place. For the
slip in (13b), for instance, this would imply that ich is changed to mir under the
influence of a dative feature. Clearly, within a model that assumes the manipulation
of abstract features, such an analysis is unnecessary. The errors receive a straightforward explanation if we assume that a person feature (possibly in combination
with a gender feature) is shifted, while at the same time, a case feature is stranded.
In their post-error position, the shifted features combine with the case features
(which are assigned to DPs at MS). Moreover, in (13a), the gender feature of Film
(movie) will be copied onto the possessive pronoun. The resulting feature bundles
are spelled out at PF by the Vocabulary items listed in(14).
(14) a. [3rd] [f] [dat]

[1st] [poss] [n]

/i:/
/main/

b. [1st] [dat]

/mi:/

Grammar as Processor

In other words: given that no phonological forms participate in the above errors,
one need not assume that the phonological surface forms of the pronouns
involved undergo repair due to the different case specification of their respective
landingsites.
6.3.2 Phonological readjustment
The stranding errors discussed in the previous section are featural in nature;
they do not involve the manipulation of roots. I shall now turn to errors in
which the phonological form of a root changes under the influence of a stranded
feature. Despite their different nature, the slips to be presented in this section
would also be classified as morphosyntactic error accommodations. That is, the
error element itself undergoes a change. I will claim that the mechanism which
can be held responsible for this change is phonological readjustment atPF.
Amongst the morphosyntactic features that may trigger phonological readjustment in German are [+past], [+part], [+pl], and [3rd]. Here, I will only discuss examples involving the first two features (but see (17b) in the next section for
an example involving [+pl]). In (15a), les (read) is anticipated into a terminal
node in which it combines with [+past], while in (15b), lg (lie) is anticipated
into a slot in which it combines with [+part]. Hence, both errors are instances of
tense stranding (of the type discussed in Section5.4.2).
(15) a.

ich las
I
read.past

ihr frs,
h, ich dank-te
her for.the, er, I
thank-past

frs
Korrektur les-en
meines Handout-s
for.the correction read-inf of.my handout-gen

I thanked her for proofreading my handout.

b. du
hast
doch
ge-log-en,
nicht

you(sg) have.2.sg mod.part part-lie-part not

versprech-en,
promise-inf

h, versproch-en, nicht
er, promise-part not

But you promised not to lie anymore.

ihr
her

mehr
zu
anymore to

mehr
zu lg-en
anymore to lie-inf

As far as (15a) is concerned, the Vocabulary item (VI) /le:z/ will spell out les
at PF. Subsequently, a phonological readjustment rule (PRR) will trigger a steminternal change in the context of [+past]; see (16a) for the relevant operations.
Things are quite similar in (15b), only that in this error, the feature [+part] is
responsible for the application of a rule which changes the stem vowel of /ly:g/
(16b). Note that the phonological readjustment rules specify the phonological
change and the context in which it applies. Frequently, a readjustment rule applies
to more than one Vocabulary item; see, for instance,(16a).

Rethinking accommodation

(16) a. VI: les /le:z/



PRR: /e:/
/a:/
/ X + [+past]

(where X = les (read), geb (give), seh (see), )
b. VI
lg /ly:g/

PRR: /:/ /o:/

(where X = lg (lie))

/ X + [+part]

Note that the exchange in (15b) also illustrates the opposite phenomenon. In this
error, the Vocabulary item that spells out versprech (promise) is subject to phonological readjustment in the intended utterance. In the error, however, readjustment
is not called for because the root combines with [tns]. In all three errors, the change
in the surface form of the respective error elements comes for free since only abstract
roots are manipulated in the course of the derivation. Consequently, we are not dealing with an error accommodation in the sense of a post-error repairprocess.
6.3.3 Context-sensitive spell-out of features
The phenomenon I wish to introduce in this section is different from the ones
discussed above in that a stranded feature does not have an impact on the error
element be it a feature bundle or a root but rather influences the choice of
some inflectional morpheme. In other words: a stranded feature is spelled out differently because of its combination with a different root in the error. Given that it
is the morphological context that changes, errors of this type can be classified as
morphological context accommodations. As before, however, I will argue that no
accommodation is at work in theseerrors.
The two morphosyntactic features which are relevant in this context are [+pl]
and [+part] since spell-out of both these features is subject to allomorphic variation. In both errors in (17), a root which ends up in a nominal slot is accompanied
by a plural allomorph different from that present in the intended utterance. The
relevant roots are akzent (accent) in the exchange (17a) and bad (bath) in
the perseveration (17b). Note that in the latter error, the stranded plural feature
also triggers umlaut in the Vocabulary item that spells out bad, that is, a change
of the type discussed in the previoussection.
(17) a. die silben-tragenden Akzent-e die akzent-tragenden Silbe-n

the syllable-bearing accent-pl the accent-bearing syllable-pl

the syllables that bear accent
b. im
Schwimm-bad knn-en sich die
Bd-er, h,

in.the swim-bath
can-pl refl the.pl bath-pl, er,

die
Jung-s richtig austob-en
the.pl boy-pl really romp.about-inf

At the swimming pool, the boys can really romp about.

Grammar as Processor

While there are five different plural allomorphs in German (see Footnote 3), there
are only two choices for the participial affix. In German, the feature [+part] is
usually spelled out by a circumfix. The prefix-part is the same for both allomorphs
(ge-) but the suffix-part may be realized by either -t or -en.6 Both the errors in (18)
are self-corrected anticipations (incompletes), and in both of them, the anticipated root takes a participial suffix different from that of the intended utterance.
Also, in both of the slips, the error element originates from a position where it
combines with[tns].
(18) a.

e r hat
mich ge-drng-t,
he has.3.sg me part-push-part

ge-bet-en,
ihn nicht
part-ask-part him not

He has asked me not to push him.

zu drng-en
to push-inf

b. er hat
ge-seh-en,
h, er hat
ge-sag-t,

he has.3.sg part-see-part, er, he has.3.sg part-say-part


dass er dich morgen


seh-en wird
that he you tomorrow see-inf will.3.sg

He has said that he will see you tomorrow.

In (19), I list the Vocabulary items which spell out the relevant morphosyntactic
features in the above errors (also see the discussion in Section 3.2.3.1). The two
plural allomorphs that surface in the slips in (17) are given in (19a), the participial
allomorphs that combine with the anticipated roots in (18) are given in (19b). For
all allomorphs, the context in which they are inserted has to be specified. I leave
open whether this context is a root (for example, X = akzent) or a Vocabulary
item (for example, X=/akts7nt/).
(19) a. [+pl]
/-/ / X

(where X = Akzent, Tag (day), Maus (mouse), )

[+pl]
/-r/ / X

(where X = Bad, Mann (man), Haus (house), )
b. [+part] /g--t/
/ X

(where X = drng, lieb (love), lach (laugh), )

[+part] /g--n/ / X

(where X = seh, helf (help), fahr (drive), )

. Note that on prefixed verbs such as vergeben (to forgive) and loan verbs such as
amsieren (to amuse), the participial form is marked by a suffix only.

Rethinking accommodation

Again, given that the plural and participial allomorphs are not yet phonologically
specified when the errors occur, it is unnecessary to assume the application of accommodatory processes that would change the phonological form of thesuffixes.
6.3.4 Summary
In Section 2.2.2, I have presented speech errors that are commonly taken to
prove that the language processor has access to the morphological structure of
words during language production, that is, errors in which derivational and/
or inflectional affixes are stranded in their original position. The discussion in
the present section has been a first step towards a revision of this assumption.
With respect to inflectional elements, the above analyses make clear that it is
not really affixes that are stranded in these errors but rather morphosyntactic
features. Obviously, this holds for errors in which the inflectional affix appears
in a different form in the error (see (17) and (18)) as well as for errors in which
an affix is the same in the intended and the erroneous utterance. In both cases,
the affix is the context-sensitive spell-out of a stranded feature. Sometimes, a
post-error context simply does not require a different affix. In addition, we have
seen that a stranded feature can also influence the spell-out of a feature bundle
(in the form of a pronoun) or a root. The distribution of errors from my corpus
in which a stranded feature is responsible for different spell-out of a feature
bundle, a root, or an affix is given in Table (20). Note that there is one error in
which a stranded [+neg] feature is spelled out by a different allomorph. This
error has not been discussed in this section but it has already been cited as
example (99a) in Chapter5.
(20) Slips in which a stranded feature has an impact on spell-out (n =53)
case stranding spell-out of feature bundle

feature stranding spell-out of root


stranding of tensefeature
stranding of[+pl]

14
4

feature stranding spell-out ofaffix


stranding of[+pl]
stranding of[+part]
stranding of[+neg]

16
9
1

Total

18

26

53

I have argued that in none of these cases, the different surface form be it of an
error element or an accompanying morpheme should be considered the result of
an accommodation, that is, a repair process which applies after the error has taken

Grammar as Processor

place. Rather, I suggest that the elements manipulated in the syntax are sufficiently
abstract to make the assumption of such a process superfluous. I conclude that, as
far as inflectional morphology is concerned, the processer need not have access to
morphological structure. In fact, it cannot have access to morphological structure
because no such structure is available at the point of the derivation at which the
errors occur. In the following section (in particular, Section 6.4.2), I will extend
this argument to derivationalmorphology.

6.4 Local licensing


A mechanism that will turn out to be highly relevant in our analysis of spontaneous speech errors is local licensing. Before turning to the error data in which it has
an effect, let me first repeat some of the basic facts concerning thismechanism.
Remember that according to DM, the roots drawn from List 1 do not carry
categorial specifications (see Section 3.2.2.1). That is, categorial features such as N,
V, and A are not amongst the features present during the computation. Harley &
Noyer (1998a,b, 2003), for instance, claim that syntactic terminals are of two basic
types: f-nodes (which contain feature bundles) and l-nodes (which contain roots,
possibly in combination with inherent features). There is only one type of l-node
whose categorial status is determined by its syntactic context. More specifically,
l-nodes are said to be locally licensed by c-commanding f-nodes. For instance, an
l-node that is locally licensed by a light verb is a verb, while an l-node that is locally
licensed by a determiner is anoun.
If terminal nodes as well as Vocabulary items lack categorial specification,
then there must be another way to constrain the insertion of Vocabulary items into
terminal nodes in order to prevent them from appearing in inappropriate syntactic contexts (as, for example, in *They cat Mary, where the item /kt/ appears in an
inappropriate context). In DM, this is achieved by listing possible syntactic environments for each Vocabulary item. That is, Vocabulary items drawn from List 2
come with subcategorization information specifying the possible syntactic contexts in which they may appear. Whenever a Vocabulary item appears in a syntactic context that meets its subcategorization requirements, it is said to belicensed.
Harley & Noyer (1998a) suggest that a Vocabulary item may be specified, inter
alia, for [v], [be], and [cause]. Only items that are specified for [+v] need further specification for the other two features. They also point out that an item may
be underspecified for a given syntactic possibility, permitting it to appear with or
without that particular syntactic element. For instance, an item which is not specified for [v] may appear freely in contexts where it is either licensed by a light
verb or by a determiner. This is true, for example, for the element shock which,

Rethinking accommodation

according to traditional terminology, can be a verb or a noun. The specifications


[be] and [cause] relate to the content of the light verb head. H.Harley (1995) and
Harley & Noyer (1998a) suggest that v may have (at least) three different specifications, namely cause, become, and be. Hence, some implications between specifications are straightforward: if a Vocabulary item is specified for [v] then obviously,
it cannot be specified for [+cause]. Moreover, while a [+be] item is necessarily
non-eventive, a [be] item may be further specified for type of event by means of
[cause]. That is, the be morpheme is characterized by [+be][cause], the become
morpheme by [be][cause], and the cause morpheme by[be][+cause].
Given the proposed feature specifications, the licensing environment for a verb
is [+v], with whatever further specification. In contrast, the licensing environment
for a noun (or a nominalization) is [v], implying that the closest licenser is a determiner. Obviously, this raises the question how the elements formerly known as
adjectives are licensed. Harley and Noyer take elements such as sink and open to be
characterized by the same set of features, namely [v] and [cause]. This assumption, however, leaves unexplained why in a [v] environment, open is realized as
an adjective, while in the same environment, sink is realized as a noun. The authors
admit that this question is a thorny one. Still, they stick to the intuitively wrong
assumption that the two elements do not differ in their featurespecification.
I want to suggest that this problem can be resolved using a proposal brought forward by Corver (1991, 1997). Corver adopts the extended functional head analysis
according to which lexical projections are included within functional projections
(Abney 1987; Chomsky 1995) and proposes to extend this analysis to the adjectival
system. He claims that degree words, which traditionally have been analyzed as
occupying the specifier position of AP (Jackendoff 1977), should rather be interpreted as heading a functional degree phrase (DegP).7 Following Corvers analysis,
we may conclude that the functional head Deg0 can also be a licensing element for
l-nodes. In the following, I will stick to the assumption that the different licensing environments are characterized by the binary features [v] and [d]. I further
assume the following implication: a Vocabulary item that is specified for [+v] may
not be specified for [+d], but a Vocabulary item that is specified for [v] can either
be further specified for [+d] (when it is a noun-like element) or for [d] (when it is
an adjective-like element). However, nothing hinges on this characterization (one
might, for instance, also assume that the relevant features are [v] and[deg]).

. Corver (1997) also argues that quantifier-like degree items behave differently from other
degree words in various respects. He therefore claims that besides DegP, a functional quantifier phrase (QP) projection should be distinguished within the functional domain of the
extended adjectival projection.

Grammar as Processor

In this section, I will consider the consequences of abandoning category labels


from a psycholinguistic point of view. As pointed out earlier (Section 3.1), within
psycholinguistic models of language production, it is generally assumed that lemmas bear a category label. As we will see, abandoning these labels has important
implications for a theory of language production. I will demonstrate that a number
of intriguing speech errors can be accounted for in a straightforward way once we
adopt the DM assumption that roots do not bear category labels. As in the previous section, I will focus on errors that are commonly assumed to involve some
sort of accommodation, the relevant types being morphological error accommodation and morphological context accommodation. I will claim, however, that
thanks to local licensing, accommodation is not required in these errors. Rather,
the observed changes are an effect of the licensing environment in which a root
appears in the erroneousutterance.
In Section 6.4.1, I will start off by presenting error data in which a root is
spelled out differently due to its post-error licensing environment. Besides phonological changes, licensing elements can also trigger the insertion of morphemes.
Slips in which morpheme insertion plays a role will be subject to discussion in Sections 6.4.2 and 6.4.3. Given that lexical categories have traditionally been claimed
to play an important role in spontaneous speech errors (in particular, in word
exchanges), we must also consider how the attested patterns can be accounted for
in a model that does without lexical categories. This question will be addressed in
Section 6.4.4. Following a summary in Section 6.4.5, I will sketch Siddiqis (2006)
Minimize Exponence model in Section 6.4.6. I will also reconsider two speech
errors in the light of this model, which departs from some of the original DM ideas
regarding MS-operations andspell-out.
6.4.1 Phonological readjustment and suppletion
In Section 6.3.2, I already presented speech errors in which phonological readjustment of a Vocabulary item is the result of stranding of some morphosyntactic feature. The cases to be discussed in this section are different since it is not a stranded
feature that can be held responsible for the readjustment. Rather, a root surfaces in
a different licensing environment, and it is the licensing environment that triggers
the change. This phenomenon is exemplified by the examples in (21) and(23).
In both errors in (21), a verb lands in a noun slot, or in DM-terms, an element that is licensed by a light verb in the intended utterance appears in a position
in which it is licensed by a determiner. In (21a), the two roots blick (glance)
and werf (throw) have been exchanged. Due to the exchange, the Vocabulary
item that spells out werf will undergo phonological readjustment. Note that, at
the same time, the participial feature is spelled out differently in the context of
blick (as explicated in Section 6.3.3). Similarly, in (21b), spring (jump) is

Rethinking accommodation

anticipated into a different licensing environment and therefore surfaces in a different phonologicalform.
(21) a.

ich hab-e
ein-en Wurf
ge-blick-t
I have-1.sg a-m.acc throw.nmlz(m) part-glance-part

ein-en Blick
ge-worf-en
a-m.acc glance(m) part-throw-part

I have thrown a glance.

b. d
 er
Sprung,
h, der
Funke
spring-t
ber

the.m jump.nmlz(m), er, the.m spark(m) jump-3.sg over

It clicks (between them).

In (22), I give the relevant Vocabulary items and readjustment rules for the slips in
(21). Note that the Vocabulary items that spell out the error elements are specified
for the different licensing environments in which they may be inserted (remember that the symbol should be read as is licensed by). The Vocabulary item
/v7rf/ in (22a), for instance, can occur in various environments. Firstly, it may be
inserted in a [+v] environment (remember that [+v] is [d] by implication) but
only when the light verb head is filled by a cause morpheme, as is the case in the
intended utterance in (21a). Secondly, it may also appear in a [v][+d] environment (which, of course, is unspecified for [cause]), as is true in the error (21a). The
Vocabulary item in (22b) is specified for the same licensingenvironments.8
In both errors, a phonological readjustment rule is responsible for the observed
stem alternations (ablaut). The readjustment rules see to it that the stem vowel of a
certain Vocabulary item X changes in a certain licensingenvironment.
(22) a. VI: werf /v7rf/ / [v][d][+cause]

PRR: /7/
//
/ X [v][+d]

(where X = werf, brech (break), sprech (speak), )
b. VI
spring

PRR: /i/

/pri/ / [v][d][+cause]
// / X [v][+d]

(where X = spring, find (find), )

Given that the changes in (21) only affect the respective stem vowel of the Vocabulary items, it is safe to assume that these errors involve the application of phonological readjustment rules. Things are different in the errors in (23), where the
phonological form of the error element in its post-error position differs more
. I acknowledge that things are probably more complex for (21b) since the involved verb
is actually not springen (jump) but rather the particle verb berspringen (jump to). In the
analysis in (22b), I neglect the particle. Also note that I leave open the question whether the
two Vocabulary items may be inserted in a [v][d] environment (as their Enlish equivalents
in the constructions the thrown ball or the jumping boy).

Grammar as Processor

dramatically from that in its intended position. In (23a), steh (stand) originates
from a position in which it is licensed by a light verb but is anticipated into a slot
in which it is licensed by a determiner. The same licensing conditions hold for the
error in (23b), in which zieh (drift) isanticipated.9
(23) a.

auf ein-em
Stand,
auf ein-em
Bein
on one-m.dat stand.nmlz(m), on one-n.dat leg(n)

kann man nicht steh-en


can one not stand-inf

You cant stop at one!

b. Rauch-zg-e,
h, Rauch-wolke-n zieh-en Richtung Westen

smoke-drift.nmlz-pl, er, smoke-cloud-pl drift-3.pl direction West

Clouds of smoke are drifting westwards.

When it comes to Vocabulary insertion, two scenarios are possible. On the one
hand, one might assume that the regular Vocabulary items /te:/ and /tsi:/ spell
out the roots steh and zieh, respectively, and that subsequently, just as in (22),
phonological readjustment rules change the form of these items in an environment where they are locally licensed by a determiner. On the other hand, we might
be dealing with instances of suppletion. According to this scenario, different (that
is, more specified) Vocabulary items are inserted in a D-environment. Given the
phonological differences between the intended forms and the forms that surface
in the errors in (23), I adopt the latter scenario (see Harley & Noyer (1998a) for
discussion of the distinction between readjustment and suppletion). Hence, both
Vocabulary items in (24) are only specified for one specificcontext.10

. Note that the verb ziehen as well as the noun Zug have various meanings: ziehen can
mean to drift, as in the error, but also to pull and to move, march, wander, roam, amongst
other things; Zug can mean train but also tension, procession, and draft, amongst other
things. In (23b), the verb has the drift/move semantics, while the anticipated root (glossed as
drift.nmlz) would probably best be translated as draft.
. In principle, suppletion could also be observed in errors involving feature stranding (see
Section 6.3.2). However, my corpus does not contain an error in which the combination of a
root and a stranded feature would trigger the insertion of a different Vocabulary item. For the
sake of illustration consider the hypothetical English error in (i).

(i) He went, er, he asked me to go to the store

(ii) go
/wend/ / [+past]
(iii) [+past] /-t/
/ X
(where X = wend, send, buy, loose, )

According to Halle & Marantz (1993) go is spelled out by the Vocabulary item /wend/ in the

Rethinking accommodation

(24) a. VI:

steh

/tant/ / [v][+d]

b. VI:



PRR:

zieh /tsu:k/ / [v][+d]


[+pl] /-/
/ X
(where X = Zug, Tag (day), Maus (mouse), )
/u:/
/:/
/ X + [+pl]
(where X = Zug, Hut (hat), Buch (book), )

As also indicated in (24b), two further changes are of interest in the slip (23b). First,
the [+pl] feature is spelled out by the appropriate allomorph. Secondly, the stem vowel
of the Vocabulary item /tsu:k/ undergoes umlaut in the context of the pluralfeature.
The English slip in (25a) is also of interest in this context. In this error, the
two roots pull.up and die are exchanged (Fromkin 1973a: 31). The first root
originates from a position in which it is licensed by a light verb but ends up in a
position in which it is licensed by a degree head. In this [v][d] environment,
spell-out of this root requires participial morphology. At its landing site, die is
spelled out by the Vocabulary item in (25b). This Vocabulary item may appear in a
[+v] environment, however, only when v is filled by a become morpheme, that is,
a combination of [cause] and [be] (as in The victim died). It is this very restriction which makes the slip in (25a) awkward, since in the error, the element die
appears in a [+cause] environment.11 I assume that spell-out of die is subject to
suppletion in other licensing environments. When licensed by a degree element,
for instance, it will be spelled out by the Vocabulary item in(25c).
(25) a. the gardener has to die the pulled up flowers

to pull up the dead flowers
b. die /dai/ / [+v][cause][be]
c. die /ded/ / [v][d]

I conclude from the above discussion that the (extended) functional head analysis
in combination with the notion of local licensing of l-nodes allows for a straightforward explanation of speech errors such as those given in (21) and (23). In many
cases, there is only one Vocabulary item for a given root, irrespective of licensing environment, and the difference in surface form is due to the application of a
phonological readjustment rule at PF. In other cases, it appears to be more likely
that we are dealing with suppletion. That is, a given root may be spelled out by
context of a [+past] feature (ii). Moreover, the regular past tense suffix /-t/ will be inserted under
the Tns node (iii) (and the final /-d/ of /wend/ will delete before /-t/ just as in send/sent).
. Adopting ideas of Generative Semantics, the combination of the atomic predicates cause
and die that is, cause and die should have given rise to the insertion of the Vocabulary item kill, since it is exactly the combination of these two predicates that paraphrases the
meaning of kill (Katz 1970; Lakoff 1971).

Grammar as Processor

different Vocabulary items depending on the licensing environment. In all cases,


the Vocabulary item that best matches the licensing conditions will be drawn from
List 2 for insertion. Crucially, local licensing, just like feature copy and feature
stranding, makes the assumption of a post-error repair process superfluous. In other
words: there is no error accommodation involved in these errors. In the following
section, I will extend this argument to errors involving morphemeinsertion.
6.4.2 Morpheme insertion
A local licenser can not only initiate phonological readjustment and suppletion,
it can also be responsible for the insertion of derivational morphemes. While the
former two mechanisms have an impact on the form of the error element, the
latter can have an effect on the context in which the error element appears. Morpheme insertion will turn out to be a helpful tool in accounting for speech errors
in which an error element surfaces with a derivational affix that is not part of the
intended utterance. Looking back at the classification in Section 6.1, such errors
would be subsumed under morphologicalcontext accommodations.
According to DM, the roots drawn from List 1 do not come with derivational
affixes. In Section 3.2.2.2, I suggested that abstract derivational morphemes are
inserted at MS in specific licensing environments. Below, I will briefly discuss
an alternative suggestion according to which derivational morphemes, just like
roots and features, are drawn from List 1. First, however, I wish to present some
error data. In (26a), schreib (write) has been anticipated into a slot in which
it is licensed by a determiner. In this context, it surfaces with the nominalizing
(agentive) suffix -er. Similarly, in the error in (26b), erzhl (tell) appears in a
D-environment and surfaces with the appropriate suffix. This particular slip also
illustrates that German nominalizing suffixes must be endowed with a gender feature in this case, feminine and that morpheme insertion must precede feature
copy because the indefinite determiner surfaces in its appropriate feminineform.
(26) a.

welch-er
what-m

Schreib-er,
Quatsch, welch-er
write-nmlz(m), nonsense, what-m

schreib-t denn
so
was
write-3.sg mod.part such a.thing

What idiot would write such a thing?!

Idiot
idiot(m)

b. er hat
ein-e
Erzhl-ung, h, ein-en
Schwank

he have.3.sg a-f.acc tell-nmlz(f), er, a-m.acc tale(m)

aus sein-er
Jugend
erzhl-t
from his-f.dat youth(f) tell-part

He has told a (merry) tale from his youth.

c. people still see Libya as a nation-al danger, as a danger-ous nation

Rethinking accommodation

The exchange in (26c), despite the fact that it is English, is also from my corpus.
This error differs from the previous ones in two respects. First, it involves the
insertion of an adjectival suffix. Secondly, there is also an adjectival suffix in the
intended utterance, yet a different one. This illustrates that morpheme insertion
does not only depend on the licensing environment but also on the specific root
that is being licensed. This is taken into account in the morpheme insertion rules
in (27). Suffixes like the ones given in (27a) and (27b) are not only in competition
with each other but also in competition with all other suffixes that are specified
for insertion in a [v][+d] environment. It is only the additional specification of
the context X which guides the selection of one suffix over the other. Frequently,
in German, a given root can combine with various suffixes in one and the same
licensing environment (there may, for instance, be various nominalized forms for
one root); I will come back to this additional complexity in the next section. Note
that the morphemes specified in the below rules are abstract (as indicated by the
sumbol ); just like roots and features, they will be spelled out by Vocabulary
items atPF.
(27) a. Insert [-er(m)] / x [v][+d]

(where x = schreib, tanz (dance), lehr (teach), )
b. Insert [-ung(f)] / x [v][+d]

(where x = erzhl, wohn (live), hoff (hope), )
c. Insert [-al]
/ x [v][d]

(where x = nation, person, category, )

Occasionally, morpheme insertion and phonological readjustment may co-occur.


Harley & Noyer (1998a) assume that this is true, for instance, for destroy in a
context where it is licensed by a determiner. A morpheme insertion rule will add
the nominalizing suffix [-ion] at MS and after spell out, a phonological readjustment rule will modify the phonological form of the Vocabulary item that spells out
the root to /distrkt/ (also see Marantz 1997). There are two errors in my corpus
in which the two mechanisms appear to join forces in order to yield a grammatical
output. One of these errors is given in (28a). Here, geb (give) appears in a position where it is locally licensed by a determiner. In this context, the morpheme
insertion rule (MIR) in (28b) applies at least if we follow Wiese (1996), who analyzes the noun-final schwa in words such as Gabe as a derivational, noun-forming
suffix.12 At PF, Vocabulary insertion (VI) will supply the Vocabulary item in (28b).

. Wiese (1996) points out, for instance, that -e, just like any other derivational suffix, determines its plural marker, the corresponding plural suffix being -n.

Grammar as Processor

Finally, the phonological readjustment rule also given in (28b) will trigger ablaut
in aD-environment.
(28) a.

sie hat
mir ihr-e Gab-e,
h, ihr-e Nummer
she have.3.sg me her-f give-nmlz(f), er, her-f number(f)

nicht
not

She hasnt given me her (telephone) number.

b. MIR:


VI:

PRR:

ge-geb-en
part-give-part
Insert [-e(f)] /
x [v][+d]
(where x = geb, folg (follow), lang (long), )
geb /ge:b/ / [v][d]
/e:/

/a:/
/ X [v][+d]
(where X = geb, )

Following the classical analysis in Chomsky (1970), properties of nominalizations


like destruction and growth are quite extensively discussed in the DM-literature
(Harley & Noyer 1998a,b; Marantz 1997, 1998). However, only little explicit information is given about where derivational morphemes come from, that is, where they
are inserted or spelled out. For the destruction-case, Harley & Noyer (1998a) postulate a morphological allomorphy rule which adds the nominalizing suffix -ion.
They take this rule to apply at the same point as Vocabulary insertion, that is, at PF.
Marantz (2001) assumes that in nominalizations, an acategorial root is merged with
a morpheme containing category features: little n. The nominalizing suffix, then, is
a Vocabulary item which is inserted into the little n head. The relevant (yet simplified) structure for destruction is given in (29). As explained above, destroy will
be spelled out by a Vocabulary item that is subject to phonological readjustment.
According to Marantz proposal, the relevant licensing environment for the readjustment rule is an n-environment. Following Bobaljik (2000), Marantz also assumes
that Vocabulary insertion is cyclic in that it proceeds from the rootoutwards.
(29)

DP
nP

D
n

LP

/ion/

/distrfi/

Hence, according to both proposals, morpheme insertion takes place at PF. What
is inserted is not an abstract morpheme but a phonological form. In light of the
German error data, this assumption is problematic because, as we have seen,

Rethinking accommodation

morpheme insertion must precede feature copy since nominalizing suffixes are
endowed with genderfeatures.13
Kihm (2005), discussing Spanish nominalizations, acknowledges the fact
that derivational morphemes can be gender-relevant. Note, however, that for
him, gender-relevant does not necessarily imply that the derivational suffix
comes with a gender feature. Rather, the distinction between gender-relevant
and non-gender-relevant suffixes it motivated by the observation that certain
Spanish suffixes may combine with different gender markers, while for others, there is no such choice available. He further considers derivational morphemes to be functional roots that, because of their functional character, must
combine with a nonfunctional root when they are taken from the lexicon (Kihm
2005:484). In other words, derivational morphemes, just like roots, are drawn
from List 1. For the English nominalization destruction, Kihm (2005:489) proposes the structure in(30).
(30) [nP tion [vP [P destroy ]]]

At first sight, this structure looks quite similar to the one in (29) (P being the
equivalent of LP).14 Crucially, however, tion is an abstract morpheme that is
present in thesyntax.
Extending Kihms proposal to German, one might suggest that derivational affixes
are present in List 1 and that German nominalizing suffixes are gender-relevant in the
sense that, just like roots, they are inherently specified for gender. While this analysis would allow us to account for the observed gender agreement in errors such as
(26b) in a straightforward way, it brings with it a serious conceptual problem. In particular, it makes it difficult to account for errors in which a derivational affix replaces
another affix present in the intended utterance. If the intended affix enters the computation together with the root that it is supposed to accompany, then we would have
to assume that it is substituted for by another affix after the error has taken place. In
(26c), for instance, the intended adjectival suffix -ous does not meet the subcategorization requirements of nation. Hence, ous has to be deleted and List 1 has to be

. Note, however, that Marantz (1998) does away with a separate level of morphology (MS).
As far as agreement morphology is concerned, he assumes that it is purely morphophonological and that therefore, agreement nodes are only added at PF. I will not further pursue this
proposal here. Still, I want to point out that following this proposal, one could still account
for the speech errors if one assumes that spell-out is cyclic and that morpheme insertion
precedes feature copy at PF (but see Harbour (2003) for arguments in favour of a separate
morphological level).
. According to Kihm (2005:490), the inclusion of v in the representation captures the fact
that these forms, despite being nouns, have the argument structure of the verb they nominalize.

Grammar as Processor

accessed again in order to select the appropriate suffix. This procedure constitutes a
real repair process (that is, a morphological accommodation) in that, following the
error, an abstract element that has been merged must be replaced. In contrast to that,
I have shown above that accommodation is not required when we assume that derivational morphemes are inserted at MS in specific licensing environments. I therefore
conclude that morpheme insertion at MS should be maintained, given that it allows
for a more elegant and more economical explanation of the speech errordata.
6.4.3 Competing nominalizations and DP-internal structure
As already implied in the previous section, more has to be said about errors that
involve nominalizations. Closer inspection of some of these errors reveals that
things are probably more complex than assumed above. Consider, for instance,
again the slip in (26a). Interestingly, in this case, there are (at least) three different
conceivable nominalizations of the abstract root schreib. We must therefore ask
why, after the error has taken place, the root is spelled out as Schreib-er (writer)
and not as Schreib-ung (spelling) or Schrift((hand)writing)?
Following Abney (1987), Szabolcsi (1994), Marantz (1997), and Harley &
Noyer (1998b), I assume that the functional structure within DP is much richer
than has been assumed in the above discussion, actually paralleling the functional structure of the clause and involving additional functional projections (see,
for instance, Marvin (2002) for Slovenian nominalizations). Without going into
details of the syntactic representation of nominalizations, I want to argue that the
nominalization which is spelled out in the error is usually the one that best fits the
internal semantics, that is, the DP-internal functional structure, of the intended
noun. For this reason, schreib in (26a) is spelled out as Schreiber, which, just
like the intended noun Idiot (idiot), has agentive semantics, and not as Schreibung
(which could be argued to be eventive) or Schrift (which isstative).
Interestingly, my corpus also contains an error in which schreib is spelled
out as Schrift, see (31a). In this error, too, schreib is perseverated into a position
where it is licensed by a determiner. For this case, I suggest that Schrift, just like
the replaced element Strich (line), has stative semantics and therefore best fits
the functional make-up of the slot it is perseverated into.15 Note that Schrift, in
contrast to Schreiber, does not involve the insertion of a morpheme at MS. Rather,
just like the cases in (24), it is probably an instance of suppletion in a [v][+d]
environment (and not the result of phonologicalreadjustment).
. In addition, it could be argued that the phonological similarity of Strich and Schrift
contributes to the selection of Schrift over the other two forms (see Section 6.6.3 for further
discussion).

Rethinking accommodation

The errors in (31b) and (31c) can be explained along similar lines. In (31b),
terror is anticipated into a position where it is licensed by D but is neither
spelled out as Terror (terror) nor as Terrorismus (terrorism) in that position. Crucially, both the intended noun Direktor (director) and Terrorist (terrorist), the noun surfacing in the error, have agentive semantics and refer to
individuals. That is, the nominalization Terrorist best fits the slot into which it
isanticipated.
(31) a. schreib-t man das mit Binde-schrift

write-3.sg one that with connect-write.nmlz(f)


mit Binde-strich
with connect-line(m)

Do you write that with a hyphen?

b. dass der Terror-ist,


h, dass der Direkt-or

that the.m terror-nmlz(m), er, that the.m direct-nmlz(m)

die
gesamte Belegschaft terror-isier-t
the.f.acc whole staff(f) terror-ize-3.sg

that the director terrorizes the whole staff

c.

der
Tour-ismus,
die Ignoranz
der
Tour-ist-en
the.m tour-nmlz(m), the.f ignorance(f) of.the tour-nmlz(m)-pl

nimm-t
von Jahr zu Jahr zu
increase-3.sg from year to year particle

The ignorance of the tourists increases from year to year.

Finally, the slip in (31c) is particularly interesting because here, tour originates
from a position where it is licensed by a determiner and is anticipated into another
position where it is also licensed by D.Still, the root combines with a different derivational morpheme at its landing site. In its original slot, tour combines with
the abstract morpheme [-ist(m)] and receives an agentive interpretation (tourist). In contrast, both the intended noun Ignoranz (ignorance) and the resulting
nominalization Tourismus (tourism) can be argued to be stative. This line of reasoning also explains why the anticipated root tour is not simply spelled-out as
Tour (tour) which has eventivesemantics.
The errors in (31), as well as those in (26a) and (26b), are representative for
the nominalization patterns in my corpus. Whenever a root is anticipated or perseverated into a slot where it is licensed by a determiner (that is by [v][+d]) and
there is a choice with respect to morpheme insertion, the morpheme which best
fits the semantics of the intended noun will be inserted. In Table (32), I give three
more examples which involve the insertion of a semantically appropriate morpheme at MS. I specify the nominalization surfacing in the error, the intended
noun, as well as conceivable alternative nominalizations of the errorelements.

Grammar as Processor

(32) Spell-out of nominalization morphemes in speecherrors


Nominalization
in error

Intendednoun

Alternative
nominalization

Sicher-heit
(safety)

bel-keit
(nausea)

Sicher-ung
(protection)

Herrsch-aft
(reign,power)

Diktatur
(dictatorship)

Herrsch-er
(ruler)

Verkuf-er
(salesperson)

Freund
(friend)

Verkauf
(sale)

I did not go into the internal syntax of these nominalizations but I take it to be
likely that DP-internal light verb heads (see (30)) that are equipped with the features [be][cause] can be held responsible for the insertion of one morpheme
over another. Alternatively, if we adopt Marantz (2001) proposal of a little n head,
it might be argued that this functional head hosts (some of) the relevant features.
In addition, a DP-internal aspectual head may be involved in some of the nominalizations, as has been argued, for instance, for destroying (as in Johns destroying
the city) by Marantz (1998). Actually, I consider the speech error patterns discussed in this section intriguing psycholinguistic evidence for the assumption of
such additional functionalstructure.
6.4.4 Accounting for categorial identity
In the preceding section, I have argued that a number of complex speech errors
receive a straightforward explanation when we adopt the DM assumption that
only abstract, acategorial roots and features are manipulated within the computational system. Most importantly, we do not need to call upon the service of
costly accommodatory processes in order to rectify possible morphological or
morphosyntacticmismatches.
With respect to speech error patterns, however, abandoning category labels
also gives rise to a serious conceptual problem. It is a well-known and wellsubstantiated fact that the grammatical category of the involved elements plays an
important role in word exchanges. In particular, there is a strong tendency for the
elements participating in the exchange to be of the same grammatical category.
Things are different for stranding errors and sound exchanges, however, which
typically involve words from different grammatical categories. It is that very property of exchange errors which lead Garrett (1975, 1980a) to the assumption that
different types of exchanges occur at different processing levels. He argues that
word exchanges take place at the functional level, at which phrasal membership and

Rethinking accommodation

grammatical category of lemmas are taken into account, while sound exchanges
and stranding errors occur at the positional level, at which the serial order of
words as well as aspects of their form are specified (see Section 3.1.1). Three representative exchange errors from Garrett (1980a: 179,188) are given in (33), a word
exchange (33a), a stranding error (33b), and a sound exchange(33c).
(33) a. I left the briefcase in my cigar
the cigar in my briefcase
b. I thought the park was truck-ed the truck was parked
c. on a sot holdering iron
a hot soldering iron

Garrett (1980a: 189) states that 85% of the word exchanges from his corpus obey
the same category constraint, while the same is true for only 43% of the stranding
errors and 39% of the soundexchanges.
To date, the Frankfurt corpus contains 163 clear instances of word exchanges.
Of these, only twenty involve words of different grammatical categories. That is,
87.7% of the word exchanges obey the same-category constraint a number very
similar to that reported by Garrett. With respect to sound exchanges, however,
percentages differ. There are 394 sound exchanges in the Frankfurt corpus. 190
of these sound exchanges occur within a word, be it morphologically complex
(for instance, Wesserbisser Besserwisser (know-all)) or monomorphemic (for
instance, Kvalier Klavier (piano)), and were therefore not considered. Of the
remaining 204 sound exchanges, 107 (52.5%) involve words of different categories.
Interestingly, for the 85 stranding errors, the bias towards mixed-category errors is
much stronger: in 76 of them (86.4%), words of different categories are involved.
For the readers convenience, these numbers are summarized in Table(34).
(34) Grammatical category constraint in exchanges (n =452)
Type of exchange

Same category

Different category

word exchange (n = 163)


strandingerror (n = 85)
soundexchange (n = 204)

143 (87.7%)
9 (10.6%)
97 (47.5%)

20 (12.3%)
76 (89.4%)
107(52.5%)

Total

249

203

Leaving sound exchanges aside for the moment, we still need to account for the
fact that the same-category constraint obviously holds for word exchanges but not
for stranding errors. Clearly, following DM assumptions, we cannot assume that
categorially specified words or morphemes are exchanged before Vocabulary insertion takes place, since the only elements available for exchange prior to spell-out are
abstract features and acategorial roots. Above, I argued that stranding errors occur
before spell-out. Consequently, they resemble word exchanges in that in both roots
are exchanged (but see Section 6.7.1.1 for exceptions). The difference between word

Grammar as Processor

exchanges and stranding errors then reduces to the fact that in the latter, a feature
which has an impact on spell-out is stranded (for instance, [+past] in(33b)).
How, then, can the same-category constraint be accounted for? In the following,
I will reconsider word exchanges and stranding errors in light of the DM framework.
As far as root exchanges of the word-type are concerned, I will suggest that the same
category constraint can be reformulated in terms of licensing environments (Section
6.4.4.1). Things are different for root exchanges of the stranding-type. For these,
I will argue that they are facilitated by the fact that, for the most part, the interacting
roots are adjacent to each other (Section 6.4.4.2). In addition to root exchanges, I will
discuss data that show that exchanges can also occur after Vocabulary insertion. In
this case, however, we are not dealing with root exchanges but rather with word or
morpheme exchanges after spell-out. Consequently, in such errors, a grammatical
outcome cannot be guaranteed (also see Ferreira & Humphreys (2001) for the role
of syntactic category in experimentally elicited stemexchanges).
6.4.4.1 The role of licensing in root exchanges
Generally, roots are not randomly exchanged in speech errors. Rather, there is
a strong tendency for a manipulated root to take a position in which it is locally
licensed by the same kind of functional head as in its original position. This holds
for the English slip in (33a) and also for the two errors in (35). Traditionally, these
errors would be classified as noun exchanges. Within DM, however, they have
to be treated as root exchanges. This is particularly evident for the error in (35b)
because here, the two interacting roots schwalbe (swallow) and sommer
(summer) are specified for different gender features and both determiners surface in their appropriately gender-marked form. In other words, the error must
have taken place before gender copy at MS. I assume that the same is true for (35a),
although in this error, it cannot be decided whether the gender features have been
copied before or after the exchange. For both errors, it is true that the interacting
roots are locally licensed by adeterminer.
(35) a. eine Theorie
ist
eine Grammatik des
Wissens

a.f theory(f) be.3.sg a.f grammar(f) of.the.n knowledge(n)

eine Grammatik ist


eine Theorie des
Wissens
a.f grammar(f) be.3.sg a.f theory(f) of.the.n knowledge(n)

A grammar is a theory of knowledge.

b. ein Sommer
mach-t
noch kein-e
Schwalbe

a.m summer(m) make-3.sg yet
no-f.acc swallow(f)

ein-e Schwalbe mach-t


noch kein-en
Sommer
a-f swallow(f) make-3.sg yet no-m.acc summer(m)

One swallow does not make a summer.

Rethinking accommodation

However, the constraint on interacting elements only holds for errors that occur
prior to Vocabulary insertion. After spell-out of Vocabulary items possibly followed by phonological readjustment in certain licensing environments the job of
the licensing elements is done. All errors occurring after that point can no longer
be constrained by the licensing environment of the involved elements; that is, they
are purelyphonological.
The fact that words may be exchanged after spell-out is illustrated by the
errors in (36) and (37). Note that both these errors are from the Frankfurt corpus. They are not included in my corpus because they do not fall into one of
the four error classes that my corpus contains (see Table (2) in Chapter 1). The
exchange in (36a) affects elements from different licensing environments. Before
spell-out, blass (pale) is licensed by a degree element, while neid (envy)
is licensed by a determiner. If we were dealing with a root exchange, then we
would expect both roots to be properly spelled out at their landing sites. For
both roots, this would involve morpheme insertion. In addition, for blass,
it would involve phonological readjustment (umlaut) in a D-environment. For
the sake of illustration, I give the hypothetical outcome of a root exchange in
(36b). The English equivalent of the properly spelled out string would be envious
withpaleness.
(36) a.

da
wird
mancher Neid
there will.3.sg some
envy

vor blass werd-en


with pale become-inf

blass vor Neid


pale with envy

Some (people) will become pale with envy.

b. Hypothetical outcome of root exchange before spell-out:



da
wird
mancher neid-isch vor Blss-e
werd-en
there will.3.sg some
envy-adj with pale-nmlz become-inf

In (37a), the two interacting roots are licensed by a determiner and a light verb,
respectively, before spell-out. The phonological form glnzt (glitters) is actually
the spell-out of glanz (glitter, shine) in combination with third person singular
agreement. Umlaut formation is triggered in this Vocabulary item in the environment of a light verb but not in a D-environment. The fact that the error element is shifted in its phonologically readjusted and inflected form clearly indicates
that the error must have taken place after spell-out. If the exchange had occurred
before spell-out, then the expected (nominalized) form would have been Glanz,
as is indicated in the hypothetical error in (37b). For gold (gold), it is actually
not clear how it could be spelled out when licensed by a light verb. The only possible verbalization that comes to mind is vergolden (to gild, gold-plate) but this

Grammar as Processor

verb has a causative meaning and probably doesnt fit the content of the light verb
head in the intended utterance. Hence, in the hypothetical error in (37b), I leave
open how gold would have been spelled out had the error taken place before
Vocabularyinsertion.
(37) a.

es ist nicht alles glnz-t,


was Gold Gold, was glnz-t
it is not all glitter-3.sg that gold gold that glitter-3.sg
All that glitters is not gold.

b. Hypothetical outcome of root exchange before spell-out:



es ist nicht alles Glanz,


was (gold-et)
it is not all
glitter.nmlz that (gold-3.sg)

With respect to the so-called word exchanges, I therefore conclude that they come
in two different types. The first one is actually a root exchange, which happens
before Vocabulary insertion is carried out. This kind of exchange is constrained
by the licensing environments of the roots participating in the error. Following
the error, the usual mechanisms that is, morpheme insertion, feature copy, spellout, and phonological readjustment apply and therefore a grammatical, albeit
possibly awkward, outcome is guaranteed. The second type of exchange occurs
after Vocabulary insertion and involves phonological words. This type is not
constrained by licensing environments. Since all of the before-mentioned DMmechanisms have applied at this point, there is no way for the exchanged elements
to adapt to their post-error environment. It should be noted, however, that this
type of error appears to be quiterare.
6.4.4.2 The role of adjacency in root exchanges
As pointed out above, the licensing conditions appear to be different for stranding errors, for which it has been argued that they are not subject to the samecategory constraint. As shown in Table (34), in almost 90% of the cases, the
exchanged morphemes constitute part of elements of different grammatical
category. At first sight, this observation implies that stranding errors (just like
exchanges of phonological words) occur at a stage at which licensing elements
are no longer relevant, that is, after spell-out. For these cases, we therefore predict that neither adaptation of the exchanged morphemes to their new environment nor adaptation of stranded material to the exchanged morphemes should
beobserved.
This is in fact true for the error in (38a). In this error, the stems pfeif
(whistle) and Tanz (dance) are exchanged, while a past tense and a nominalizing suffix are stranded. The outcome of the error is not grammatically wellformed. If the error had occurred before spell-out, that is, if roots had been
exchanged, then the expected outcome would be the one given in (38b). In this

Rethinking accommodation

hypothetical error, the Vocabulary item which spells out pfeif will undergo
phonological readjustment in the context of [+past]. Moreover, tanz will
combine with a zero-affix which is specified for masculine gender when licensed
by a determiner.16 The gender feature will be copied onto the determiner
(the possessivepronoun).
(38) a. er pfeif-te
nach ihr-er
Tanz-e,
h,

he whistle-past to
her-f.dat dance-nmlz(f), er,

tanz-te
nach ihr-er
Pfeif-e
dance-past to
her-f.dat whistle-nmlz(f)

He danced to her tune.

b. Hypothetical outcome of root exchange before spell-out:



er pfiff
he whistle.past

nach ihr-em
Tanz
to
her-m.dat dance.nmlz(m)

The fact that in this and other stranding errors, the exchanged elements are
not spelled out correctly follows automatically from the assumption that these
errors occur after Vocabulary insertion. Remember, however, that I have already
shown above that there are also stranding errors in which either the form
of the exchanged elements or the form of an inflectional or derivational affix
changes after the error (see, for instance, the slips in (21a) and (26c)). I have
argued that the grammatical outcome can be explained when we assume that in
these errors, roots are exchanged before spell-out. This implies that, in contrast
to (38), we are not dealing with stranding in the sense of morpheme stranding,
for the simple reason that there a no morphemes present when the error occurs.
Rather, as also argued above, the surface form of these errors results from the
stranding of morphosyntactic features and/or local licensing. For further illustration consider the error in (39a). In this exchange, two things are of interest.
First, the Vocabulary item which spells out brech (break) is phonologically
readjusted to Bruch when licensed by a determiner. Secondly, the correct participial allomorph ge- -t is chosen for bann (spell) in its post-error environment. Hence, the error must have occurred before Vocabulary insertion. The
hypothetical ungrammatical outcome of a morpheme exchange after spell-out
is illustrated in(39b).

. Another possible nominalization of the Vocabulary item that spells out tanz would be
Tnz-er (dancer). Tanz, however, is the nominalization which best fits the semantics (that is,
the DP-internal functional structure) of Pfeife (whistleN); see Section 6.4.3.

Grammar as Processor

(39) a. da


war der Bruch
ge-bann-t

there was the.m break.nmlz(m) part-spell-part


der
Bann
ge-broch-en
the.m spell(m) part-break-part

And so the spell was broken.

b. Hypothetical outcome of morpheme exchange after spell-out:



da
war der
Broch
ge-bann-en
there was the.m break.part part-spell-part

From the above data, I conclude that the so-called stranding errors also come
in two types: as root exchanges before spell-out and as morpheme exchanges
after spell-out. If one wanted to stick to the term stranding for the former type,
then one could argue that these errors involve stranding of features and of a
licensingelement.
Now, this being said, we have to return to the licensing environment constraint argued for in the previous section. How can errors like the one in (39a) be
accounted for if we stick to the assumption that identical licensing environments
are a precondition for the exchange of roots? One way might be to somewhat
loosen the same-licenser constraint.17 It is a well-known fact that the so-called
word exchanges typically involve elements from different phrases, while stranding
errors (as well as sound exchanges) typically involve elements which appear under
the same maximal projection (Garrett 1980a: 189). We may therefore hypothesize
that the closer the exchanged elements are to each other in a syntactic tree structure, the less influence the same-licenser constraint has. This is exemplified by the
bracketed structures for the two representative root exchanges in (35b) and (39a),
respectively, given in(40).
(40) a. [CP [DP ein [LP Sommer]] [TnsP macht [LP [DP keine [LP Schwalbe ]]]]]
b. [LP2 [DP der [LP1 Bruch]] [L ge-bann-t]]

These are simplified structures, of course. In fact, Garretts statement that stranding errors typically involve members of a single phrase is not completely adequate.
In (40b), for instance, a lexical phrase (LP1) and a DP separate the two error

. Alternatively, one might argue that the roots that interact in (39a) are actually licensed
by the same type of element because the nominalization Bruch contains a light verb head
which c-commands brech (see the discussion in Section 6.4.3). I will not further pursue this
possibility here. Let me just point out that an analysis along these lines would require further
stipulations in order to guarantee that the appropriate phonological readjustment rules apply.
After all, phonological readjustment of the Vocabulary item brech is not required in a light
verb environment.

Rethinking accommodation

elements, which, however, appear under the same maximal projection LP2 (which
corresponds to VP). Still, it is true that in almost all of the exchanges which affect
roots from similar licensing environments, these roots are separated from each
other by a larger number of maximal projections. This is true, for instance, for the
slip in (40a), in which the exchanged roots both appear in a D-environment. The
first root is contained in a DP that occupies SpecCP, the second root is part of a DP
which is embedded under a LP (again, corresponding toVP).
Interestingly, a closer look at the root exchanges reveals that in almost all of
them, the roots which interact in the error are adjacent to each other in the sense
that no other root that is, no other possible candidate for exchange intervenes
between the exchanged elements. Actually, my corpus contains only two stranding
errors in which the exchanged roots appear in considerable distance from each
other. In both cases, however, the involved roots come from the same licensing
environment. Consider, for instance, the error in (41a) in which lach (laugh)
and sprech (speak) are exchanged, while agreement features are stranded.
Both roots are licensed by a light verb. Clearly, the error must have taken place
before spell-out because the Vocabulary item that spells out sprech undergoes
the required phonological readjustment in its post-error position (ablaut in the
context of the feature [3rd]). You will notice that another root, namely span
(Spanish), appears between the exchanged elements; this root, however, is licensed
by adeterminer.
(41) a.

er sprich-t
immer, wenn ich Spanisch lach-e
he speak-3.sg always when I
Spanish laugh-1.sg

er lach-t
immer wenn ich Spanisch sprech-e
he speak-3.sg always when I Spanish laugh-1.sg

He always laughs when I speak Spanish.

b. der Affe stamm-t


vom Menschen ab

the ape descend-3.sg from man
particle

der Mensch stamm-t


vom Affen ab
the man
descend-3.sg from ape particle

Man descends from ape.

Moreover, there are twelve word exchanges in my corpus, that is, root exchanges
without stranded morphemes, in which another root intervenes between the
exchanged elements. In all twelve cases, however, the intervening root is licensed
by a different functional head. Two examples have already been given in (35)
where the intervening roots are sein (be) and mach (make), respectively.
One more example is provided in (41b). As before, the exchanged roots mensch
((hu)man) and affe (ape) both come from a D-environment, while the intervening root stamm (descend) is licensed by a lightverb.

Grammar as Processor

The picture that emerges from the above discussion is that there are two
scenarios that allow for the exchange of roots in speech errors. In the first scenario, the two roots are adjacent to each other. In this case, the two roots need
not be licensed by the same type of functional element. In the second scenario,
another root, that is, another possible candidate for exchange, intervenes between
the exchanged elements. However, whenever this is the case, the exchanged roots
are locally licensed by the same licensing element, while the intervening element
appears in a different licensing environment. In other words: these errors obey the
licensing environmentconstraint.
As usual, a few problematic cases remain. In conclusion of this section, I want
to briefly discuss two root exchanges which are not readily accounted for following the above analysis. One such tricky case is the English stranding error cited in
(4c) above, repeated here as (42a). In that error, the appropriate adjectival suffix
-ful is inserted following the exchange and we must therefore assume that the error
occurred before Vocabulary insertion. Since the exchanged roots appear in considerable distance from each other, we would expect them to be licensed by the same
kind of element (as in (41a)). This, however, is not the case: in the intended utterance reason is licensed by a degree element and care by a determiner. Moreover, there is another root, namely measure, intervening between the exchanged
elements which is licensed by yet another element (a light verb). Consequently,
in this sequence, one would either expect reason to interact with measure
(giving rise to the error its measurable to reason with care) or measure to interact with care (yielding its reasonable to care withmeasure).
(42) a. I think its care-ful to measure with reason

its reasonable to measure with care
b. das ist Marc-s
Bruder Anke, Anke-s
Bruder Marc

that is Marc-gen brother Anke Anke-gen brother Marc

That is Ankes brother Marc.

In (42b), the same-category constraint is satisfied, since the exchanged elements,


two proper names, are both licensed by a determiner. What is peculiar about this
error is that the intervening root bruder (brother) is also licensed by D.This
contradicts the above claim that an intervening root should always be one from
a different licensing environment. Possibly, in this error, we need to take into
account that the exchanged elements Marc and Anke are not really roots but rather
proper names. Also, in this error, the exchanged roots and the intervening element
all appear under the same DP projection, that is, they are structurally very close
to eachother.
Let me briefly recollect the facts. In this subsection, I have tried to give an
account for the well-known fact that in word exchanges but not in stranding errors,

Rethinking accommodation

elements of the same grammatical category tend to interact. I have argued that in
DM, this tendency can be explained without bothering category labels, when we
assume that prior to Vocabulary insertion, the interaction of roots in an error is
constrained by the licensing environment in which they occur. This constraint,
however, may become ineffective whenever the affected roots are sufficiently close
to each other and no other root intervenes.
Moreover, I have argued that the common distinction between word exchanges
and stranding errors needs to be reconsidered. In psycholinguistic models of language production, it is generally assumed that word exchanges take place early (at
the functional level), while stranding errors take place at a later point in the derivation (at the positional level). The discussion of German speech errors suggests
that this characterization may be too simplistic. In fact, I have shown that both
types of errors may occur before and after the insertion of Vocabulary items into
terminal nodes. In the former case, we are actually dealing with instances of root
exchanges. Whenever an error occurs prior to spell-out, DM-mechanisms such as
morpheme insertion, feature copy, and phonological readjustment ensure a grammatical outcome. These mechanisms may influence the surface form of an error
element and/or the context in which it appears. In addition, exchanges may also
take place after Vocabulary insertion. In these cases, however, we are actually dealing with an exchange of phonological material, be it a word or a morpheme. At this
point, the licensing environment does no longer constrain the interaction of error
elements. Generally, word or morpheme errors that occur after spell-out tend to
result in ungrammatical utterances because all the relevant DM-mechanisms have
already applied at thispoint.18

. In this respect, these two types of exchanges resemble sound exchanges. There is, for instance, no sound exchange in the Frankfurt corpus in which the exchange accidentally results
in an existing noun which in turn triggers accommodation on an adjacent element, for instance, a determiner. For the sake of illustration, consider the consonant exchange in (i).

(i)

ihr
drf-t
die Kraut
bss-en,
you(pl) may-2.pl the.f cabbage(n) (error)-inf

die
Braut
kss-en
the(f) bride(f) kiss-inf

You may kiss the bride.

In this error, the first word resulting from the exchange of /k/ and /b/ happens to be the existing German word Kraut (cabbage). However, in contrast to Braut (bride), which is feminine, Kraut is of neuter gender. Still, the definite article does not surface in its neuter form
(das). Such an accommodation would be quite surprising, of course, since all feature copy
processes have already been executed when the error occurs.

Grammar as Processor

6.4.5 Summary
It turns out that local licensing is a powerful tool when it comes to explaining
speech errors. The above discussion shows that many errors that have traditionally
been considered the result of a (morphological or morphosyntactic) accommodation receive a straightforward explanation under a licensing analysis. Crucially,
under such an analysis, the fact that an error element or a derivational morpheme
surfaces in a form different from the intended one is not seen as the result of a
post-error repair process. Rather, the observed changes result from local licensing
of an abstract root by a c-commanding functional head. I have shown that local
licensing can have an effect on the surface form in three different ways. First, it may
trigger the insertion of abstract morphemes at MS in certain licensing environments. In German, some of these morphemes are equipped with a gender feature.
Secondly, it may give rise to suppletion when a more specified Vocabulary item
is selected for insertion at PF due to the licensing environment in which the root
appears. Finally, after Vocabulary insertion has taken place, local licensing may
also be responsible for the application of a phonological readjustment rule. Table
(43) shows the distribution of errors from my corpus across the different licensing effects and it also specifies how many errors are attested in a specific licensing
environment. Remember that two effects may combine in one error (for instance,
morpheme insertion and phonological readjustment, as in (28a)). The table also
shows that the effect of licensing is most pronounced in D-environments, probably
because the choice of competing suffixes is most extensive fornominalizations.
(43) Slips in which local licensing has an impact on spell-out (n =70)
local licensing triggers morpheme insertion
in D-environment (nominalizingsuffix)
in Deg-environment (adjectivalsuffix)
local licensing triggerssuppletion
inD-environment
inDeg-environment
inv-environment
local licensing triggers phonol.readjustment
inD-environment
inDeg-environment
inv-environment
Total

34
25
9
11
7
3
1
25
15
3
7
70

In Section 6.3.4, I have argued that in many errors in which an inflectional


morpheme appears to be stranded, we are actually dealing with cases of feature
stranding. In the present section, I extended the argument to derivational

Rethinking accommodation

morphology. I have suggested that numerous errors which seem to involve stranding of a derivational affix actually involve stranding of a licensing element which
triggers morpheme insertion. Again, this implies that prior to Vocabulary insertion, the language processor does not have access to morphological structure
because there is no such structure. It is only after spell-out that morphemes can be
the target of an error and only these errors are real strandingerrors.
On basis of the speech error data presented in this section, I conclude that language production, when assisted by DM-mechanisms, can do without reference to
category labels. In fact, many of the errors receive a more elegant explanation once
we assume that only acategorial roots and morphosyntactic features are manipulated
in the syntax. In particular, under this assumption, the postulation of repair processes that change the form of a stem or a derivational affix becomessuperfluous.19
6.4.6 An alternative account: Minimize Exponence
Before concluding this section, I want to discuss a recent theoretical account
brought forward by Siddiqi (2006) which, despite the fact that it is also couched
within DM, takes a somewhat different perspective on MS-operations and spellout. I will first sketch the crucial characteristics of his account and then show what
implications it has for the analysis of speecherrors.
Let me first point out that all the central ideas of DM that figured prominently
in the previous discussion are also adopted by Siddiqi. In particular, he assumes
that the computational system only manipulates abstract morphosyntactic features
and acategorial roots, that well-defined operations at MS may change the number
and organization of terminal nodes, and that Vocabulary insertion follows syntax
(late insertion). As for the roots that are manipulated in the syntax, Siddiqi follows
Pfaus (2000) proposal that roots are specific to the particular concept they are
linked to (for instance, dog; see Section 4.1). What he adds to the general picture
is an economy constraint on the grammar which he labels Minimize Exponence.
This constraint is defined asfollows.
Minimize Exponence (ME)
The most economical derivation will be the one that maximally realizes all the
formal features of the derivation with the fewest morphemes. (Siddiqi 2006:82)

. See Barner & Bale (2002) for further psycholinguistc arguments in favor of categorial
underspecification. The authors claim that a theory without lexical categories (like DM) offers
a natural solution to the boostrapping problem in language acquisition. In addition, they
discuss category-specific neurological deficits and show how these can be accounted for in
a model that assumes the manipulation of acategorial roots (see Panagiotidis (2005) for a
critique and Barner & Bale (2005) for a rejoinder).

Grammar as Processor

In other words: the most economical derivation is the one that is spelled out by the
fewest Vocabulary items. In a nutshell, Siddiqi argues for a proliferation of merger
and fusion operations at MS, for a larger inventory of Vocabulary items, and for a
reduction (or even abolition) of phonological readjustmentrules.
Let me illustrate his proposal with the irregular plural form mice (Siddiqi
2006:48f). In traditional DM, the syntactic structure for the pluralization would
look like (44). mouse is licensed by little n (which will be realized by a null morpheme). At PF, mouse will be spelled out by the Vocabulary item /mas/. In this
specific context, the plural feature in Num0 will not be spelled out by the regular
suffix -s but by a zero affix. In addition, in the context of [+pl], a phonological
readjustment rule will change the formof /mas/ to /mais/.
(44) a.

NumP
nP

Num0
[+]

LP

Siddiqi points out that there is strange interdependence in the derivation. On the
one hand, the null plural morpheme is licensed by the specific root mouse; on
the other hand, the readjustment rule is triggered by the presence of the plural
feature. He suggests that this awkward situation can be avoided when we assume
merger and fusion of terminal nodes at MS. In a first step, the root undergoes
head movement (that is, morphological merger) to adjoin to the functional heads
above it. This operation yields the complex adjunction structure below Num0 in
(44b). Subsequently, the resulting complex head (marked by the broken circle) will
undergo fusion to incorporate the features and the root into one simplex head,
see(44c).
(44) b.

NumP
Num0
Num0
[+]

nP

tn

LP
tL

Rethinking accommodation

c.

NumP
nP

Num0
[+]
[n]

tn

LP
tL

The resulting node, containing the root and several grammatical features, will then
be the target for Vocabulary insertion. Siddiqi assumes that the specific Vocabulary item given in (45a) spells out the root-feature bundle in (44c). Crucially, this
item differs from the one that would spell out the node in the absence of [+pl]
(45b). That is, there are two separate Vocabulary items for the singular and the
plural form and the derivation does neither involve the insertion of zero affixes
nor the application of a phonological readjustmentrule.
(45) a. [+pl] [n]

mouse

/mais/

b. [n] mouse

/mas/

Exactly the same argument can be made for roots that are licensed by other functional elements. run, for instance, when licensed by little v and appearing in a
[+past] context, will merge with the light verb head and Tns, and after fusion, the
resulting node will be spelled out by the more specified Vocabulary item /rn/
(Siddiqi2006:54f).
As a result of the suggested merger and fusion operations before spell-out,
more than one terminal element is realized by just a single Vocabulary item because
Vocabulary items can be specified for both a root and formal features. Actually,
fusion is driven by the need to make the utterance contain as few morphemes as
possible (Siddiqi 2006:83). In this sense, the derivation obeys the ME-constraint.
Siddiqis proposal is elegant in that it renders unnecessary the application of phonological readjustment rules. Since in his model, Vocabulary items which are
linked to the same root compete with each other for insertion, readjustment rules
are no longer needed to alter the phonological form of Vocabulary items in certain contexts. In addition, the proposal is attractive because it drastically reduces
the number of null morphemes that DM is forced to propose. It has to be noted,
however, that the suggested ubiquitous application of merger and fusion makes
the computational load heavier: more computation is needed for every derivation. Also, it clearly increases the size of the Vocabulary. Siddiqi argues that these

Grammar as Processor

negative side effects have to be put up with in order to satisfy the larger economy
constraint MinimizeExponence.20
Following this exposition, I shall now have have another look at two of the
speech errors that have been analyzed in Sections 6.3.2 and 6.4.1, namely (15a)
and (21b), repeated here as (46a) and (46b). Above, I argued that both errors
involve the application of a phonological readjustment rule. In the first error,
the readjustment rule is triggered by a stranded [+past] feature, in the second
error, readjustment is due to the licensing environment in which the anticipated
rootappears.
(46) a.

ich las
I
read.past

ihr frs,
h, ich dank-te
her for.the, er, I
thank-past

frs
Korrektur les-en
meines Handout-s
for.the correction read-inf of.my handout-gen

I thanked her for proofreading my handout.

ihr
her

b. d
 er Sprung,
h, der Funke
spring-t
ber

the.m jump.nmlz(m), er, the.m spark(m) jump-3.sg over

It clicks (between them).

In Siddiqis model, the application of such readjustment rules is not required. In


the first slip, les (read) adjoins to Tns and then the root-Tns complex moves to
C.Moreover, at surface structure, AgrS adjoins to Tns. I assume that additional
merger operations are not called for in this case (for instance, merger of the root
with little v) although they are not excluded in principle. After adjunction of AgrS,
the root will fuse with the tense and agreement features into one simplex head and
subsequently, the Vocabulary item in (47a) will be inserted.21 In (46b), spring
(jump) only needs to merge with little n and after fusion, the Vocabulary item
in (47b) will be selected for insertion into the terminal node. Note, however, that
given the existence of competing nominalizations for spring (see Section 6.4.3),

. With respect to Vocabulary size, Siddiqi (2006:82) also argues that a possible compromise might be to have fused forms for the most frequently used roots while leaving less
frequent forms to regular morphological processes.
Let me also point out that Siddiqi shows that the ME-constraint he proposes has additional applications. In particular, it offers a new way to account for inflection within English
nominal compounds and for subcategorization (argument selection).
. Given that agreement inflection is regular in the past tense even for strong verbs, one
might also assume that the root only fuses with [+past] and that a separate Vocabulary item
spells out the agreement features. Note, however, that the agreement suffix is zero for the first
and third person singular.

Rethinking accommodation

additional merging operations may be required to ensure selection of the appropriate Vocabulary item, for instance, merger of the root with a feature contained
in a DP-internal light verbhead.
(47) a. [+past] [1st]


les
b. [n] spring

/la:z/
/pr~]/

I conclude from this brief discussion that Siddiqis Minimize Exponence model is
well compatible with the speech error data. In principle, all the error data which
I claimed to involve the application of a phonological readjustment rule can also be
accounted for when we assume the insertion of more highly specified Vocabulary
items after merger and fusion of roots and grammatical features. What remains to
be explored though is how ME handles morpheme insertion. Just like phonological readjustment rules, morpheme insertion rules might become superfluous once
we adopt Siddiqis proposal. Fusion of a root (for example, dance) with little n,
for instance, might result in a terminal node in which a morphologically complex
Vocabulary item (dancer) is inserted. Intuitively, however, the suggested fusion
processes seem much more plausible for cases which involve zero affixes and steminternalchanges.

6.5 Action!: Two complex cases


After having pointed out the possible effects of feature copy, feature stranding, and
local licensing, I shall now present a detailed analysis of two particularly interesting
speech errors, thereby summarizing the mechanisms argued for in the preceding
sections and illustrating how the derivation of (erroneous) utterances proceeds.
Note that the errors analyzed below may be exceptional with respect to the number of MS- and PF-operations that are required in order to account for them. Still,
such errors rare as they may be illustrate in an impressive way how various
DM-mechanisms may join forces to yield an outcome that satisfies morphological
and morphosyntactic well-formednessconstraints.
6.5.1 Error #1: Morpheme insertion, feature copy & readjustment
The first slip I want to discuss is the one given in (48). This is an instance of
an incomplete, that is, the erroneous utterance is self-corrected immediately
after the first error element klag (charge, complain). Typically, in incompletes, it cannot be determined whether we are dealing with an anticipation
or with an exchange. Note, however, that in this particular error, the indefinite

Grammar as Processor

determiner and the adjective are spelled out in their neuter form. This change
in surface form can only be explained when we assume that we are actually
dealing with an exchange of bel (bad) and klag because only bel
possesses a neuter feature in its nominalized form. We may therefore assume
that the complete erroneous DP that was planned was ein ganz klgliches bel
(a very miserableevil).
(48) das ist
wirklich ein
ganz klg-lich-es,
h,
this be.3.sg really
a.n.nom very charge-adj-n, er,
ein-e
ganz bl-e Klage
a-f.nom very bad-f charge(f)
This is really a very bad charge.

A syntactic structure for the DP after root exchange is given in (49). In this structure,
the degree element ganz (very) is taken to occupy the head of DegP (Corver1997).
(49)

DP
LP

D
[]

DegP

Deg

LP

root exchange

Following the root exchange, various things happen at MS. First of all, the DP
will be assigned nominative case. Second, bel will combine with a zero suffix
when licensed by D (or by little n). This suffix is equipped with a neuter gender
feature; see the morpheme insertion rule in (50a). In an account that assumes the
presence of a nP between the DP-and the LP-layer (for instance, Kihm (2005)),
this null suffix may be inserted in little n, followed by merger of the root with little
n.22 In any case, the gender feature will be copied onto other positions within DP
before spell-out. Thirdly, another morpheme insertion rule will combine klag

. Alternatively, on might argue that bel is selected from List 1 along with an inherent
gender feature, no matter what licensing environment this root appears in. Since this feature
only plays a role when the root takes a position in which it is licensed by a determiner, it
may be deleted in other licensing environments. This deletion could be accounted for by a

Rethinking accommodation

with the abstract morpheme given in (50b) when licensed by a degree element.
After MS-operations have applied, the relevant part of the structure looks as is
illustrated in(51).
(50) Morpheme insertion at MS
a. Insert [-(n)]

x [v][+d]

(where x = bel, gut (good), )

b. Insert [-lich]

x [v][d]

(where x = klag, freund (friend), glck (happiness), )


(51)

DPNOM
LP1

D
DegP

[]
[]

L1

Deg

LP2

+ [-lich]
[]

+ [-]
[]

feature copy

This structure is the basis for Vocabulary insertion at PF. The relevant Vocabulary
items are listed in (52). The first one is the item that spells out the feature bundle
in D, that is, the feature [def] drawn from List 1, the copied gender feature, and
the case feature that percolated down from DP. The Vocabulary item that spells out
klag is given in (52b). As you can see, I assume that this Vocabulary item can be
inserted in all licensing environments. In a [+v] environment, however, it is only
licenced when the light verb head is specified for [+cause] because klag requires
an agentive argument in SpecvP. The abstract morpheme accompanying klag is
spelled out by the phonological form in (52c) (remember that capital X represents
an underspecified fricative; see Footnote 19 in Chapter 3). Finally, the gender feature under LP2 is realized by the suffix in (52d). It is important to point out that
this suffix is only inserted in the context of a [def] feature in D (in context of a
[+def] feature, the suffix /-/ will beinserted).

morphosyntactic readjustment rule, more precisely, an impoverishment rule which deletes


gender features in all [d] contexts.

Grammar as Processor

(52) Vocabulary items inserted at PF


a. [def] [n]


[nom]

/ain/

b. klag
c. [-lich]
d. [n] [nom]

/kla:g/
/-liX/
/-s/

[v][d][+cause]

[def]

Last but not least, the phonological readjustment rule in (53) will trigger umlaut
formation in the Vocabulary item /kla:g/ when licensed by a degree element (that
is, by[v][d]).
(53) Phonological readjustment at PF
[+back] [back] / X [v][d]
(where X = klag, tag (day), gefahr (danger), )

In other words: the error in (48) can be accounted for by a series of regular processes which apply blindly to the sequence that results from the root exchange.
No repair is involved because none of the elements that surface in a form different
from that of the intended utterance are present when the erroroccurs.
6.5.2 Error #2: Case assignment, morpheme insertion & feature copy
The second slip that I want to discuss in some detail is the one cited in (54). Again, we
are dealing with a root exchange, this time, however, without self-correction. In this
exchange, the roots folg (follow) and versuch (tempt, try) are affected and the
resulting utterance is fully grammatical. By means of exception, for this error, I give
a translation both for the intended and the erroneous utterance. This is important to
capture meaning differences that are not evident from the interlinear translation. In
the intended utterance, folg means follow but in its nominalized form in the error,
it will be interpreted as order or sequence. Also, in the intended utterance, versuch
combines with a nominalizing suffix which yields the meaning temptation, while in
the error, the verbal surface form will be interpreted as try. This difference will turn
out to be crucial because the corresponding German verbs assign differentcase.
(54) ich versuch-e die
Folg-e
I tempt-1.sg the.f.acc follow-nmlz(f)
folg-e
der
Versuch-ung
follow-1.sg the.f.dat tempt-nmlz(f)
intended: I follow the temptation.
error: I try the order/sequence.

The post-error structure in (55) indicates that I assume that folg and versuch
change place after movement of folg to Tns and C (and movement of the subject

Rethinking accommodation

to SpecCP). This assumption is not crucial for the analysis. Obviously, it might as
well be the case that the error occurs at deep structure when both roots are still
adjacent to each other under LP1. Subsequently, versuch would undergo head
movement to Tns andC.
(55)

CP
DP

[1st]

Tns

TnsP

L1

Tns

[]

tDP

Tns
LP1
DP

root exchange

tTns
tL1

LP2

[+]

Again, various operations apply at MS. A particularly interesting property of this


error is that after the exchange, the object DP is assigned a different case feature:
while in the intended utterance, folg would assign dative case, in the erroneous utterance, accusative case is assigned by versuch. Hence, the error must
have taken place before case assignment is executed (a fact that might actually
support the deep structure exchange analysis). In addition, the morpheme insertion rule in (56) applies. This rule combines folg with an abstract suffix when
licensed by a determiner (compare the discussion of (28a) above). Crucially, this
morpheme comes with a gender feature which will be copied onto D.Feature copy
will also transmit the relevant feature of the subject to the AgrS node which has
been implemented as sister node of Tns. Subsequently, Tns and AgrS will probably
fuse because no Vocabulary item is inserted for [past]. The structure which will
be passed on to PF for Vocabulary insertion is given in(57).
(56) Morpheme insertion at MS
Insert [-e(f)] / x [v][+d]
(where x = folg, geb (give), lang (long), )

Grammar as Processor

(57)

CP
DPNOM
[1st]

C
Tns

TnsP

L1

Tns

tDP

Tns

AgrS

[]

[1st]

feature copy

Tns
LP1
DPACC

tTns
tL1

LP1

[+]
[]

+ [-e]
[]

The Vocabulary items that spell out the terminal nodes in this structure are listed
in (58). The first three items are those that spell out features or feature bundles: the
subject pronoun, the agreement suffix, and the definite determiner. The Vocabulary items for the two roots that participate in the error are given in (58d) and
(58e). Both roots are licensed in all three possible environments. A difference,
however, concerns their insertion in a [+v] environment. While versuch is only
permissible in a [+cause] context, folg can also be inserted in a [cause] context (as, for instance, in wichtige Informationen folgen (important information follows)). Finally, the abstract morpheme will be spelled out by the Vocabulary item
in (58f). Phonological readjustment is not required in thiserror.
(58) Vocabulary items inserted at PF
a. [1st] [nom]
b. [1st]
c. [+def] [f]

[acc]
d. folg
e. versuch
f. [-e(f)]

/iX/
/-/

/di:/

/flg/
/f7zu:X/
/-/

/
/

[v][d][cause]
[v][d][+cause]

As before, a well-defined sequence of ordered processes allows us to account for


this intriguing error. At first sight, the computational operations necessary to
account for the error may appear quite costly. We must keep in mind, however,

Rethinking accommodation

that exactly the same operations would apply in the intended utterance, which also
requires case assignment, feature copy, and morphemeinsertion.
6.6 Against repair strategies
The errors discussed so far in this chapter make an important contribution to our
understanding of the processing and manipulation of morphosyntactic features
in language production. In particular, the above analysis of two complex speech
errors illustrates that the interplay of various DM-mechanisms provides for an
elegant explanation of these and many other spontaneous errors. Table (59) gives
an overview of all the errors in my corpus that would traditionally be analyzed as
accommodations, or, to be more precise, as morphological and morphosyntactic
accommodations (see Section 6.1). In the table, the errors are grouped together
according to the respective mechanism which makes the assumption of a repair
process superfluous; these mechanisms are feature copy, feature stranding, and
local licensing (note that Table (2) in Chapter 1 gives a total of 241 errors involving accommodation because it also includes 15 instances of lexical construal; these
will only be discussed in Section6.6.2).
(59) Errors in which DM-mechanisms help us to accountfor
so-called accommodations (n =226)
feature copy following the error
feature copy withinDP
feature copy ontoAgrS
caseassignment

88
13
2

featurestranding
has impact on spell-out of featurebundle
has impact on spell-out ofroot
has impact on spell-out ofaffix

9
18
26

locallicensing
triggers morphemeinsertion
triggerssuppletion
triggers phonologicalreadjustment

34
11
25

Total

103

53

70

226

On the one hand, I have claimed that all context accommodations are either due
to feature copy (types , , and ), to context-sensitive spell-out of a morphosyntactic feature (type ), or to morpheme insertion due to licensing (type ).
The first of these mechanisms has an impact on the syntactic context of the error

Grammar as Processor

element, while the latter two impose a change on the morphological context (an
inflectional or derivational morpheme). On the other hand, I argued that error
accommodations can be seen as the result of either feature stranding (types and
), suppletion (type ), or phonological readjustment (type ), where the latter
two mechanisms are triggered by the licensing environment in which the error
elementappears.
I conclude from the discussion in the previous sections that the concept
accommodation is unnecessary and should therefore be abandoned. Once we
adopt DM-mechanisms, the assumption of costly repair processes that would
bring the erroneous utterance in line with some grammatical constraint becomes
superfluous. By claiming this, I go one step further than Leuninger & Keller
(1994:89) who argue that accommodations are cost-free adaptations of linguistic errors to grammatical [] well-formedness restrictions. My point is: even the
postulation of cost-free adaptations is unnecessary because no adaptation whatsoever is involved. None of the elements that surface in a form different from that of
the intended utterance for instance, agreement suffixes, derivational morphemes,
and determiners are present when the error occurs. After the error has taken
place, the processor will spell out blindly the abstract roots and features contained
in terminal nodes. The insertion of a different morpheme in a certain licensing
environment or the application of a phonological readjustment rule, to name just
two mechanisms, do no constitute an extra burden for the processor, that is, they do
not constitute repairs. Rather, these mechanisms simply reflect the normal workings of the morphological system when confronted with a slightly incorrectinput.
This being said, I want to consider two further aspects. First, I will reconsider
phonological and morphophonological accommodations (Section 6.6.1). I will
argue that these accommodation types do not involve the application of a repair
operation either. Second, I will present two error types that are problematic in
light of my claim that repair processes play no role during language production.
The first error type, lexical construal, I take to be a real challenge for that claim
(Section 6.6.2). In contrast, the second error type to be discussed only poses a
potential challenge; these are self-corrected errors that seem to involve the application of a surface filter (Section6.6.3).
6.6.1 Reconsidering (morpho)phonological accommodation
The discussion in Sections 6.2 to 6.5 centered around the analysis of errors in
which we observe morphological or morphosyntactic changes. But what about the
other two types of accommodation that were distinguished in Section 6.1, namely
phonological and morphophonological accommodations? As for the first type,
consider the three errors in(60).

Rethinking accommodation

The Dutch within-word sound exchange (Cohen 1965:183) that has already
been presented in (2c) is repeated here as (60a). In this slip, the phonemes /k/
and /p/ change place. Subsequently, the nasal /m/ assimilates to the place features of the adjacent /k/ and surfaces as the velar nasal []. If the phoneme /m/
was in fact fully specified for all phonological features, then we would have to
assume that one feature value is changed, that is, that we are dealing with a true
context accommodation. This, however, is most probably not the case. Within
underspecification theory (see, for instance, Archangeli 1988; Yu 1992; Steriade
1995), it is assumed that certain feature values may be underlyingly unspecified. The missing values will either be supplied by complement or default rules
or they will be filled in by processes of assimilation (feature spreading). For
Dutch and German, for instance, it has been argued that nasal consonants are
not specified for place of articulation; rather, they assimilate to a neighboring
obstruent with respect to the place feature. Consequently, in (60a), the underspecified nasal receives its place feature [velar] from the neighboring /k/ and
surfaces as [], while in the intended utterance, it would have received the feature [labial] from theadjacent /p/.23
In speech errors, feature spreading is not only observed from an error element onto the context but also from the context onto an (underspecified) error
element. In (60b), for instance, a nasal is perseverated. In its post-error position, the underspecified nasal assimilates to the place features of /p/ and surfaces
as[m].
(60) a.

pankeren [pak] kamper-en [kamp]


(error)  camp-inf
to camp

b. Bauern-tmpel Bauern-tlpel

farmer-(error)  farmer-bumpkin

country bumpkin
c. ich

I

hab-e
den Buch [bx], Butt
have-1.sg the (error),
Butt

und die Blechtrommel [bl]


and the Blechtrommel

I have written Der Butt and Die Blechtrommel.

ge-schrieb-en
part-write-part

. See Yu (1992:187ff) for an account of nasal assimilation in German. Note that a similar
process of place assimilation is observed in English, as is exemplified by the two prefixed
forms in-definite vs. im-perfect.

Grammar as Processor

A similar phenomenon is exemplified by the error in (60c) (Berg 1993:61).24 In this


error, the anticipated palatal [] appears as the velar [x] in its post-error position.
Note, however, that the distribution of the two dorsal fricatives is fully predictable in German: [x] appears after back vowels only, while [] appears in all other
positions. That is, [x] and [] assimilate to the feature [ back] of the preceding
segment. Therefore, Yu (1992) and Wiese (1996) propose to use /X/ as an abbreviatory symbol for the underspecified segment from which the dorsal fricatives []
and [x] are derived, this underlying segment being specified only for the features
[+cons], [+cont], and [dorsal] (see Berg (1991) and Stemberger (1991) for discussion of redundant features and underspecification in language production). Given
phonological underspecification, it is unnecessary to assume that the errors in (60)
involve phonological accommodation (change of a feature value). Rather, a process
of feature spreading that fills in an unspecified feature guarantees that the contextually appropriate phonemesurfaces.25
In morphophonological accommodations, the choice of a particular allomorph is determined by phonological characteristics of the stem it attaches to.
In English, for instance, such conditioned allomorphy is observed for the plural

. Obviously, it is the German author Gnter Grass who uttered this slip. The English translations of the two books he refers to are The flounder and The tin drum, respectively.
. Meara & Ellis (1981) discuss intriguing speech errors from Welsh which show that phonological errors may actually occur before and after the application of phonological rules. Just
like other Celtic languages, Welsh has a phonological rule known as initial consonant mutation, which changes word-initial consonants according to the words syntactic environment.
Three different types of mutation have to be distinguished. The authors show that phoneme
reversals are observed with mutated and unmutated consonants. In (i), the two word-initial
consonants /gw/ and /m/ have undergone mutation before they were reversed and no accommodation to their post-error position is observed (for this error, Meara & Ellis do not specify
the underlying (unmutated) form of the consonants).

(i)

(ii)

mewn mahanol gwannau


in different places
y gwn fahaniethau
the small differences

mewn gwahanol mannau

y mn wahaniethau

In contrast, unmutated consonants are exchanged in (ii). The underlying forms of the two
words involved in the error are mn (little) and gwahaniethau (differences). Nouns that
follow adjectives are subject to the rule of soft mutation. Therefore, the noun would surface as
wahaniethau in the intended utterance (loss of initial /g/). In the error, however,/gw/surfaces
in its unmutated form. At the same time, soft mutation correctly applies to the other error
element and changes it from /m/ to /v/ (Meara & Ellis 1981:800). That is, in (ii), we observe
phonological accommodation. Meara & Ellis take these errors as evidence for the psychological reality of deep and surface phonological representations.

Rethinking accommodation

suffix and the past tense suffix. In example (61a), the number feature is stranded
(Stemberger 1985: 162), while in (61b), the same is true for the tense feature
(Garrett 1976: 238). In both examples, the respective suffixes are spelled out in
their appropriate form atPF.
(61) a. you just count wheel-s [-z] on a light light-s [-s] on a wheel
b. he roast-ed [-id] a cook
he cook-ed [-t] a roast
c. [+past]
/-t/ / Z +___

(where Z = cook, dwell, buy )

There are two possibilities to account for the correct spell-out of these suffixes. On
the one hand, one might argue that there is only one underlying (tense or plural)
morpheme which is underspecified for a certain feature (for example, [voice]
for the plural morpheme), the specification of this feature depending on the context of insertion. Moreover, a default vowel insertion rule will apply in certain
contexts (for instance, in (61b)).26 On the other hand, it could be the case that
the Vocabulary contains several suffixes that compete for insertion under a given
node, each Vocabulary item specifiying the context in which it may be inserted.
At least for the feature [+past], the latter option is adopted by Halle & Marantz
(1993:125f), who postulate the Vocabulary item in (61c) for one of the English
past tense allomorphs. Independent of the position one adopts, morphophonological accommodation of the suffix need not be assumed. Rather, we are either
dealing with a phonological spreading rule that fills in a missing feature value
(option 1) or with competition among more highly specified Vocabulary items
(option 2). In any case, exactly the same operations would have been effective in
the intendedutterances.27
. I assume that phonological underspecification of suffixes also allows for a straightforward explanation of vowel harmony in Turkish speech errors, as observed, for instance, in
example (3b) in Section 6.1.2 (see Mester & Ito (1989) for an underspecification account of
Turkish vowel harmony).
. It is not entirely clear whether a similar strategy can help us in explaining the accommodation of definite and indefinite articles in English errors such as (i) (Garrett 1976:238).

(i)

give the [] nipple an [n] infant

the [i:] infant a [] nipple

That is, it is not clear whether there are two allomorphs for each article, the insertion of which
depends on the first segment of the following word, or whether we are dealing with a phonetic
phenomenon (comparable to, for instance, liaison in French).
Note that a similar phenomenon is observed in Italian, where the selection of definite
determiners is not only influenced by a nouns gender feature (as in German and French) but
for masculine determiners also by phonological characteristics of the word that follows the
determiner. That is, the gender feature determines only the allomorphic set of determiners

Grammar as Processor

Clearly, all the (morpho)phonological processes that determine the surface


form of the errors in (60) and (61) depend on the phonological form of Vocabulary items. Therefore, these processes must apply after Vocabulary insertion has
been executed. Given that spell-out of morphosyntactic features such as [+pl]
or [+past] may depend on phonological properties of a root, we must further
assume that spell-out is cyclic and that spell-out of roots precedes spell-out
of features (Bobaljik 2000; Marantz 2001). Consequently, the sequence of PFoperations is roughly as follows. First, Vocabulary items for roots are inserted.
Secondly, phonological readjustment rules apply, which are triggered either by a
licensing element or by a morphosyntactic feature. Thirdly, abstract derivational
morphemes are spelled out. Subsequently, morphosyntactic features are spelled
out and finally, phonological spreading and assimilation rulesapply.
6.6.2 An exception: Lexical construal
Still, there is one exception to my general claim that repair processes do not
play any role in language production. These are errors that involve a mechanism
which has been referred to as lexical construal in the speech error literature
(Garrett & Kean 1980; Leuninger & Keller 1994). In lexical construal, a different lexeme is selected for insertion following a phonological error which results
in a non-existing word. Hence, cases of lexical construal could be classified as
an instance of lexical accommodation because what we observe is a post-error
adaptation based on lexical conditions. For the sake of illustration, consider the
examples in (62). In (62a), perseveration of the segment /b/ from Ball (ball)
should result in the non-word Betz. What surfaces in the error, however, is the
existing word Bett (bed), that is, an element that is stored in the Vocabulary.
Given that the phonological error certainly occurs after Vocabulary insertion,
we must assume that, following the error, the Vocabulary is accessed again and
the phonologically similar Vocabulary item Bett is selected. Crucially, Betz and
Bett share the onset a characteristic which creates a strong connection within
the phonological network. Otherwise, the processor might as well have targeted
the intended noun Netz (net) when accessing the Vocabulary for the second
time, and no error would have surfaced. Betz and Netz, however, only share
therhyme.

(il and lo in the singular, i and gli in the plural), while the choice of one of the allomorphs over
the other depends on phonological factors (see Miozzo & Caramazza 1999).

Rethinking accommodation

(62) a. wieder einmal land-et


der Ball
im
Bett

once
again land-3.sg the.m ball(m) in.the.n bed(n)


im
Netz
in.the.n net(n)

Once again, the ball hits the net.

b. und sie mach-t


kein-en Kummer, kein-en Finger krumm

and she make-3.sg no-m.acc grief(m) no-m.acc finger(m) bent

And she does not lift a finger.
c. Schimmel-senkel

mould-lace

ham sandwich

Schinken-semmel
ham-roll

In contrast, the error in (62b) is a phonological anticipation of the word /krm/.


Note that we cannot assume that krumm (bent, crooked) is anticipated before
spell-out because then we cannot account for the fact that the pseudo suffix -er is
stranded.28 The expected result of the anticipation is the non-word /krm/. But
again, a phonologically similar existing word, the noun Kummer (grief ), surfaces in the error, which implies that the Vocabulary was consulted for a second
time after the error has taken place. I want to point out that this phenomenon
has already been identified in Meringer & Mayer (1895), although they didnt
refer to it as lexical construal. The example in (62c), a phonological exchange
within a compound, is from their corpus (Meringer & Mayer 1895:23). Actually,
this error is quite intriguing since it involves the exchange of two syllable positions: the coda of the first syllable and the onset of the second syllable; what is
echanged is /k/ and /m/ (note that the /m/ of Semmel (roll) is ambisyllabic). As
pointed out by Meringer and Mayer, the expected outcome of the error would be
Schimmen-senkel. The second part of this erroneous compound happens to be the
existing word Senkel (lace), while the first part is the non-word Schimmen. The
processor, however, replaces the non-word with the phonologically similar word
Schimmel(mould).
The errors in (62) clearly involve two computational steps. First, a contextually
induced phonological error occurs after Vocabulary insertion. Secondly, the nonword resulting from the error is matched with an existing Vocabulary item. As was
. If the error had occurred before Vocabulary insertion, that is, if krumm had been anticipated, then the expected (properly licensed) outcome would have been the one given in
(i), which involves morpheme insertion at MS, gender feature copy onto D, and phonological
readjustment.

(i)

kein-e
Krmm-ung, kein-en
Finger
krumm
no-f.acc bent-nmlz(f) no-m.acc finger(m) bent

Grammar as Processor

pointed out by Leuninger & Keller (1994), this second step is of the type of a formal
substitution. In contrast to the different types of adaptations discussed in Sections 6.1
to 6.5, this second step is definitely not cost-free, that is, it does not involve the application of a mechanism that would apply in the course of the derivation anyway. I therefore conclude that lexical construal is in fact the result of a repair. Lexical construal
may not be a very frequent phenomenon (my corpus contains 15 errors of this type),
but it is frequent enough to consider it a challenge to my previous claim that language
production, when assisted by DM-mechanisms, can do without repairprocesses.
6.6.3 A possible surface filter
Albright (2007), in his insightful commentary on Pfau (2007), discusses further
examples that possibly contradict the assumption of an entirely repair-free derivation. In addition, he reconsiders the processing of grammatical gender in DM and
the strict division of semantics and phonology as assumed in DM. I will briefly
summarize his treatment of the latter two topics before turning my attention to
errors that suggest that the computational system does not operate entirely blindly
and that some surface filter might be at work afterall.
Albright argues that according to a conceptually appealing null hypothesis,
the syntax would only care about a limited set of universal syntactic and semantic features, while lexically arbitrary and language-particular morphological and
phonological features would be available only after Vocabulary insertion (Albright
2007: 38). Clearly, gender agreement is a challenge to this strong hypothesis. He
sketches an alternative scenario according to which the processor generates parallel structures, including masculine, feminine, and neuter versions of DP-internal
material. At PF, only the structure that turns out to be compatible with the (gendermarked) Vocabulary item will be spelled out. Hence, for a German sentence which
includes two roots that are licensed by D, nine (32) structures would have to be
generated clearly a somewhat awkward solution. Mechanically, this solution might
work but the speech error data (in particular, the identical gender effect and accommodation patterns) show that it cannot be on the right track. Rather, the error data
support the claim that gender features are available early in the derivation. With
respect to gender processing, Albright (2007:41) therefore concludesthat
Pfaus findings concerning the asymmetry in gender accommodation go beyond
simply confirming a prediction of Distributed Morphology; they actually
disconfirm a strong version of the theory, and inform our understanding of
genderagreement.

Secondly, Albright discusses the interaction of semantic and phonological similarity


in substitution errors as well as other errors that potentially show early phonological influences. The extent to which form and meaning interact in lexical retrieval is

Rethinking accommodation

a matter of on-going debate (also see Section 3.1.3) and I will not go into this issue
here. However, I want to have a brief look at errors that appear to speak for the
early availability of phonological information. In this context, Albright (2007:43f)
discusses the error which has been cited as (31a) in Section 6.4.3, repeated here as
(63a) for convenience. Remember that I argued that in this error, the surface form
of the perseverated root schreib (write) is motivated by the fact that it is licensed
by a determiner in its post-error position. In this environment, the suppletive
form /rift/ will be retrieved from the Vocabulary. Furthermore, I argued that the
nominalization Schrift is the best syntactic/semantic match for the intended stative
DP. In Footnote 15, however, I already admitted that the phonological similarity of
intended and produced noun might play a facilitating role in this error: both are
monosyllabic, share the onset and the vowel, and have similar syllablestructure.
But how could the spell-out of schreib be influenced by phonological
similarity with the Vocabulary item that spells out strich (line)? Albright
rightly points out that the DM architecture does not provide any obvious way
for the phonological form of Strich to play a role in the error. According to DM,
phonological forms are only available at the time of Vocabulary insertion, but
at this point, schreib has already taken the slot of strich and there is absolutely no reason for the Vocabulary item /tri/ to be considered when Vocabulary insertion takes place. After all, we dont want to assume that the processor
remembers that strich was once part of the derived structure. DM therefore predicts that substitutions that occur early in the derivation should not be
encouraged additionally by phonological similarity (Albright 2007:44). Hence,
in this theory, the phonological similarity between intruder and intended item
can only be anaccident.
(63) a.

schreib-t man das mit Binde-schrift


write-3.sg one that with connect-write.nmlz(f)

mit Binde-strich
with connect-line

Do you write that with a hyphen?

b. [die Motivation
der
Athlet-en] knn-en durchaus variier-en

the.f motivation(f) of.the.pl athlete-pl can-3.pl certainly vary-inf

die
Motivation kann variier-en
the.f motivation(f) can.3.sg vary-inf

The motivation of the athletes can certainly vary.

Another relevant observation concerns the fact that the phonological form of agreeing determiners appears to have an impact on speech errors that presumably occur
early in the derivation. In an experimental study, Vigliocco et al. (2004) showed that
in elicited German noun substitution errors, gender preservation is observed only

Grammar as Processor

when a change in gender would also require a change in determiner.29 This implies
that the likelihood of a semantic substitution is influenced by the eventual surface
form of the determiner. Given that semantic substitutions take place early in the derivation (selection of roots from List 1), while the phonological form of the determiner
should only be available late (at PF), this is clearly a problematicobservation.30
Remember from the discussion in Section 5.2.2.6 that a similar property has
been found to facilitate the occurrence of local SVA-errors. In my corpus, SVAerrors in which the verb agrees with a local noun from within a complex subject
DP are most likely to occur when the singular head noun is accompanied by the
feminine definite determiner die, which is homophonous to the plural determiner
(see Table (51)); a representative example is given in (63b). Again, we are confronted with the paradoxical situation that the phonological form of an error element should have an influence on an error that takes place before spell-out. Clearly,
these data are a challenge for the theory and I agree with Albright (2007:46) who
states that further inquiry is needed to determine to what extent the data is compatible with a modular, unidirectional model such as DistributedMorphology.
Most important in the present context is the third observation that Albright
(2007) makes in his commentary because it touches on the issue of repairs in language
production. Under the header Is free too cheap? he discusses my claim that additional repair operations are not required once we are equipped with the tools made
available by DM. He suggests that this hypothesis may actually make repairs too easy,
and that there may exist additional constraints that limit errors from making use of
the full computational power of the morphological system (Albright2007:46).

. In the relevant test condition, subjects had to produce nouns accompanied by indefinite
determiners in a speeded picture naming task. In German, the indefinite determiner is homophonous for masculine and neuter nouns (ein), while feminine nouns require a different
determiner (eine). The results indicate that masculine nouns are freely substituted for neuter
nouns (and vice versa). In contrast, the substitution of feminine nouns for either masculine
or neuter nouns was avoided.
. Albright (2007:45) argues that this finding raises the possibility that the identical gender
effect is actually an identical determiner effect. He points out that a similar effect may possibly be lurking in Pfaus own data. When discussing gender accommodation in Section 5.1.3,
I showed that the Frankfurt corpus contains a total of 91 singular noun substitutions in which
target and intruding noun do not share the same gender feature. In these 91 cases, accommodation could in principle be observed. However, 57 of the noun substitutions that violate
the identical gender effect (62.6%) actually satisfy determiner-matching, either because the
accompanying determiner is gender-ambiguous or because there is no determiner (see the
examples in (12) in Section 5.1.3). This distribution implies at least the possibility that even
semantic substitutions are sensitive to the surface morphological/phonological structure of
the agreement context (Albright 2007:45).

Rethinking accommodation

Albright reconsiders the English slip in (42a): I think its care-ful to measure
with reason (Fromkin 1973a: 31). I argued above that in this error, reason and
care change place and that following the error, a morpheme insertion rule will
insert the abstract morpheme [-ful] in a context where care is licensed by a
degree element. Albright wonders what would have happened if the exchange
had involved a root that does not happen to have an existing degree adjective,
for instance, gusto. What would the processor make of the resulting structure?
Would gusto be spelled out as gustoful given that -ful appears to be the productive affix for creating degree adjectives? If, as I claim, so-called repairs simply reflect the ordinary workings of the computational system, then this leads to
the prediction that errors, too, should be free to productively create neologisms
(Albright2007:47).
However, at least in my corpus, this prediction is not borne out. In all errors in
which a root appears in a different licensing environment (giving rise to morpheme
insertion and/or phonological readjustment), an existing word surfaces. Moreover,
as pointed out by Albright (2007), there is evidence from self-corrections which
suggests that errors generally tend not to result in productively formed neologisms. For the sake of illustration, consider the error in (64a). Given that the error
is self-corrected after Tnzer (dancer), we are not in a position to decide whether
we are dealing with an anticipation or an incomplete exchange. Note, however,
that in the latter case, linguist would target a position in which it is licensed by
a light verb. While tanz (dance) is readily spelled out in a D-environment, there
is no Vocabulary item that could spell out linguist in a v-environment. Only a
neologism could do the job (Albright suggests the forms linguistizieren and linguistieren). Albright (2007:47) conjectures that it is precisely the lack of a suitable
existing verb that lead the speaker to an immediateself-correction.
(64) a. dass ein Tnz-er,
h, ein Linguist
so wild tanz-t

that a.m dance-nmlz(m), er, a.m linguist(m) so wildly dance-3.sg

that a linguist dances so wildly.
b. die
Sitz-e, h, die
Kind-er hab-en im
Kreis

the.pl sit-pl, er, the.pl child-pl have-pl in.the.m circle(m)

ge-sess-en
part-sit-part

The children have sat in a circle.

c.

er hat
eine
he have.3.sg a.f

Konstrukt-ion-en
diskutier-t
construct-nmlz-pl discuss-part

He has discussed a number of constructions.

Reihe von Diskuss-ion-en,


row(f) of discuss-nmlz-pl,

Grammar as Processor

It is interesting to note that all the errors from my corpus in which a full exchange
of roots would have required the spell-out of a non-existing (nonce) form are selfcorrected immediately after the first error element. A second example is provided
in (64b). For the sake of the argument, lets assume that kind (child) and sitz
(sit) were exchanged. The former root is spelled out according to its licensing
environment (note that this involves the choice of a different plural allomorph).
For kind, however, it is not clear how it could be spelled out when being combined with [+part] and licensed by a light verb (gekindert?). Again, following
Albrights suggestion, we may hypothesize that the lack of a suitable Vocabulary
item is responsible for the self-correction (see (4b), (5b), (23a), and (26a) for further examples).31 It has to be pointed out, however, that self-correction in root
exchanges is not necessarily an indicator of the lack of an appropriate Vocabulary item. The slip in (64c), for instance, is self-corrected after the first error element (note the stem-internal change in a D-environment) despite the fact that
konstruier (construct) is licensed in a light verb environment; the resulting
utterance would have been Diskussionen konstruiert (see (21b), (31b), and (48) for
addititionalexamples).
Still, if Albrights argumentation is on the right track, the self-correction data
suggest the existence of a strong lexical filter which blocks morphological structures that do not correspond to pre-existing Vocabulary items or, to put it differently, structures that require the insertion of Vocabulary items in an environment
in which they are not licensed (remember that Vocabulary items are specified for
legitimate licensing environments). This in turn implies that the system does not
operate entirely blindly. Rather, it anticipates a licensing conflict and stops the
derivation. Albright (2007:47) tentatively concludes that a surface filter on preexisting combinations seems to lead to a very common and powerful repair, of
stopping and correcting theutterance.
Albrights proposal is highly thought-provoking and certainly deserves further in-depth study. Still, it seems to me that it is not absolutely necessary to postulate a surface filter in order to account for the observed self-corrections. Why not
simply assume that the derivation crashes at the point of Vocabulary insertion?

. See Ferreira & Humphreys (2001) and Wardlow Lane, Slevc, and Ferreira (2007) for experimental evidence that points in a similar direction. In particular, experimental findings
reported in Ferreira & Humphreys (2001) indicate that words that belong to more than one
syntactic category (verb and noun in their case; e.g., tape and record) are more likely to participate in an experimentally elicited exchange. It has to be noted, however, that the authors
do not consider morphologically complex nominalizations. That is, a word like decorate is said
to belong to only one syntactic category because decorate cannot appear in a nominal slot and
hence, an exchange like caked the decorate is ill-formed.

Rethinking accommodation

In (64a), for instance, after having spelled out tanz in a D-environment, the
processor would proceed to spell out linguist in a light verb environment. The
processor will find a Vocabulary item that matches the root; however, this item
does not match the roots licensing environment (presumably, the Vocabulary item
is specified for insertion in a [v][d] context). Hence, the derivation crashes and
the speaker will start anew. Obviously, an explanation along these lines raises the
question of how spell-out proceeds. Above, I argued that, within an XP, spell-out
proceeds from the root outward (Bobaljik 2000). In order to make my suggestion
work, however, one would also have to assume a certain amount of left-to-right
spell-out. Otherwise, it is difficult to explain why tanz is spelled out in the first
place given that Vocabulary insertion for linguist already failed (note that the
same caveat holds for Albrights account). I leave this fascinating and complex
issue for futureresearch.
6.6.4 Summary
In this section, I have summarized my findings concerning the speech error
data presented in Sections 6.1 to 6.5. The discussion has culminated in the
claim that language production can do without repair strategies. On the one
hand, I have argued that apparent morphosyntactic accommodations are due
to feature stranding and feature copy. On the other hand, I have shown that
morphological accommodations receive a straightforward explanation when
we assume local licensing of acategorial roots and context-sensitive spell-out
of features. I have added to the picture phonological and morphophonological
accommodations which I take to be the result of underspecification, feature
spreading, and possibly a competition amongst alternative Vocabulary items.
Crucially, all of the mechanisms needed to account for the errors are mechanisms that apply in the course of the derivation anyway. For the processor, it
does not make any difference (in terms of a processing effort) what feature is
copied or what morpheme is inserted. Hence, it is the application of regular
mechanisms that yields a fully grammatical surface form, not the application of
exceptional repairstrategies.
I have also discussed error data that are potentially challenging to my general
claim. Admittedly, for cases of lexical construal, it is difficult to come up with an
explanation that does not involve the application of a repair strategy. Indeed, these
data suggest that the processor accesses the Vocabulary again after spell-out in
order to retrieve an existing word. Further examples that proof problematic for
a DM account are those in which phonological information (that is, information
that is only available at PF) seems to have an influence on errors that take place
before spell-out (for instance, semantic substitutions and SVA-errors). Finally,

Grammar as Processor

I have investigated Albrights (2007) hypothesis that certain self-corrections may


be indicative of the application of a surface filter which detects an upcoming
licensing conflict at spell-out and repairs it. While this hypothesis awaits further
investigation, it is clear that the existence of such a surface filter would contradict
my claim that output-oriented processing need not beassumed.

6.7 Repairs: Two further issues


Before concluding this chapter, I will address two further issues that have to do
with the application or non-application of repair strategies. Given the discussion
of DM-mechanisms in the previous sections, it may seem tempting to assume
that for the most part, speech errors result in a grammatical albeit mostly
semantically awkward utterance. In the following, however, I will reconsider
speech errors which give rise to utterances that do violate some grammatical
well-formedness constraint. I will first attempt to give an account for three different error types in which the by now well-known DM-mechanisms do not apply
(Section 6.7.1) before turning to a discussion of attested and hypothetical cases of
partial repair (Section6.7.2).
6.7.1 Too late for repair
I have argued that in many speech errors, the application of some MS- and/or
PF-mechanism guarantees the generation of a fully grammatical utterance. At
various points, however, we have already seen that this is not always the case.
I shall now come back to those errors in which the application of these mechanisms fails, that is, errors that violate certain morphological or morphosyntactic well-formedness constraints. I am going to examine how these violations
can be accounted for within the model sketched above. In a nutshell, I will
claim that all of these errors take place at (or after) spell-out, that is, at a point
at which DM-mechanisms can no longer be effective. Note that in this section,
I will not be concerned with mismatches that result from erroneous feature copy
(for instance, SVA-errors). Clearly, these errors also give rise to an ungrammatical utterance. However, in copy errors, the mismatch is the error, while in
the cases that I will address in the present section, the mismatch is a by-product
of the manipulation of some other element. Only in the latter case, the question
arises why the structure resulting from the error is not repaired. Three types
of errors will be (re)considered in this context: errors involving stranding of
morphemes (Section 6.7.7.1), DP-internal agreement errors (Section 6.7.7.2),
and subcategorization errors (Section6.7.7.3).

Rethinking accommodation

6.7.1.1 Morpheme stranding


With respect to morpheme stranding, I can be rather brief because these cases
have already been discussed in Section 6.4.4.2. Typically, in stranding errors, a
conflict either results from the fact that a suffix does not meet the subcategorization properties of the stem it attaches to or from the fact that a stem is not properly
spelled out in its new environment. As a consequence, the utterance violates a morphological well-formedness constraint. In (65), I present two more examples from
the Frankfurt corpus to illustrate this phenomenon. As has already been pointed
out in Section 2.2.2.1, in (65a), it is evident that morphemes and not roots have
been exchanged because both morphemes are shifted in their readjusted form: the
Vocabulary item that spells out baum (tree) is subject to umlaut in the context
of the diminutive suffix, while an ablaut rule affects the Vocabulary item that spells
out sterb (die) when combined with the person feature [3rd]. In other words:
first the Vocabulary items are inserted, then phonological readjustment applies,
and then the exchange takesplace.
(65) a.

ich glaube, mein Stirb-chen bum-t mein Bum-chen stirb-t


I think my die-dim
tree-3.sg my tree-dim
die-3.sg
I think my little tree is dying.

b. im
Wolken nord-ig
im
Norden wolk-ig

in.the.m.dat cloud(f) north-adj in.the.m.dat north(m) cloud-adj

cloudy in the North

In (65b), the stranded element -en happens to be the plural suffix of Wolke (cloud),
but this is a mere coincidence, since no plural feature is present in the intended
utterance.32 The stranded element -ig, on the other hand, is an adjectival suffix;
still, it is certainly not the appropriate one for nord (North). Possible adjectival forms for nord are nrdlich (Northern) and nordisch (Nordic). Moreover,
there is a feature mismatch between the cliticized article and the noun. All these
characteristics clearly indicate that the error must have occurred after Vocabulary
insertion, that is, that phonological material has been exchanged at PF. If two roots
had been exchanged before Vocabulary insertion, then the interplay of morpheme
insertion and feature copy would have yielded another surfaceform.
6.7.1.2 Feature mismatch within DP
While a mismatch between morphological form and sentence position (that is,
licensing environment) is the hallmark of stranding errors, the other two types

. Note that the suffix -en which accompanies the Vocabulary item that spells out nord
(North) is possibly a nominalizing suffix.

Grammar as Processor

of errors are characterized by a feature mismatch. Let us first consider feature


mismatch within DP. My corpus contains 96 errors that fall into this category.
However, only 85 of these will be of interest in the present context because the
other eleven cases result either from a gender feature shift (see Section 5.4.4) or a
semantic feature shift (see Section 4.3.2). Four different error types can trigger a
feature mismatch within DP: phonological substitutions, blends, noun shifts, and
determiner shifts (see Bakker & Pfau (2008) for discussion of these errors from a
Functional Discourse Grammarperspective).
First of all, there are thirteen noun substitutions in my corpus in which a noun
does not agree with a determiner and/or adjective. Remember from the discussion
in Section 5.1.3 that almost all of these substitutions are form-based (see Table (13)
in Chapter 5). I have argued that this distribution is expected because meaningbased substitutions occur when roots are selected from List 1, that is, at a point at
which agreement relations have not yet been established. In contrast, form-based
substitutions occur at PF when Vocabulary items are selected from List 2 for insertion. At this point, agreement feature copy has been executed and therefore, there
is no way for the gender feature of the erroneously selected Vocabulary item to be
copied onto other material within DP. This is illustrated by the error in (66a), in
which the noun Filiale (branch) replaces the phonologically similar noun Finale
(final). Note that the neuter determiner das has cliticized to the preposition fr
(for). The correctly spelled out form would be fr dieFiliale.
(66) a.

 ast
h
du
Karte-n frs
Filiale,
h,
have.2.sg you(sg) ticket-pl for.the.n branch(f), er,

frs
Finale
for.the.n final(n)

Do you have tickets for the final?

b. ich habe leicht-es


Kopfschmerz-en

I
have slight-n.acc headpain(m)-pl

leicht-es
Kopfweh
// leicht-e
Kopfschmerz-en
slight-n.acc headache(n) // slight-pl.acc headpain(m)-pl

I have a slight headache.

Blends have by far the highest share in DP-internal agreement errors. There are
48 blends in my corpus that give rise to a feature conflict. The error in (66b) is
interesting because in this particular case, the mismatch is due to two features:
gender and number. In German, the two compounds Kopfweh (headache) and
Kopfschmerzen (literally headpains) are synonymous; the former is always singular, while the latter is usually used in its plural form. Moreover, the heads of these
two compounds are of different gender: -weh is neuter, -schmerz is masculine. In

Rethinking accommodation

the erroneous utterance, the adjective leicht (slight) is marked for singular and
neuter, while the noun it combines with is masculine and marked forplural.
Except for one case, in all blends that result in a DP-internal feature mismatch, there are two nouns in competition, while other material within DP is
identical for both alternative structures (for instance, the adjective in (66b)).33
We may therefore assume that two roots within List 1 receive activation from
the conceptual level and that both roots enter the computation competing for
the same l-node within the syntactic DP-frame. At MS, the gender feature of one
of the competitors will be copied but at PF, the other root will be spelled out.
That is, the error proceeds in two steps. Crucially, just as in phonological substitutions, the second error takes place at spell-out, that is, after feature copy has
beenexecuted.34
It is important to point out that things may be different in blends in which
two different phrases compete (and not just two synonymous roots with different
gender features). For these blends, we must assume that two alternative frames are
constructed in parallel and that a root from one frame intrudes into the competing frame. Consider, for instance, the blend in (67), which involves two idiomatic
expressions. Clearly, in this error, fahne (flag) takes the position of mund
(mouth) in the competing frame. This substitution process (Wiegand 1996)
takes place within the computational system. Subsequently, the gender feature of
fahne is copied onto the determiner and a grammatically well-formed utterance surfaces (also see the blend in (8b), which involves two idiomatic expressions, and the blend in Footnote 5, in which the two competing DPs contain
differentadjectives).

. The one exception is given in (i). In this error, two prepositional phrases are in competition. The two PPs contain different prepositions both of which, however, assign dative case.
In the error, the masculine noun Mund (mouth) combines with the feminine (dative) determiner of the competing frame.

(i)

das muss
man sich auf der
Mund
zergeh-en lass-en
that must.3.sg one refl on the.f.dat mouth(m) melt-inf let-inf

auf der
Zunge
// im
Mund
on the.f.dat tongue(f) // in.the.m.dat mouth(m)

One has to savour that.

. Alternatively, one might argue that two structurally identical frames are activated in parallel. At MS, gender agreement is established successfully within both frames but at spell-out,
the two frames blend into one thereby combining the noun of one frame with the gender
marked adjective of the competing frame (see Section 5.2.2.4).

Grammar as Processor

(67) er hat


eine Menge Leute, die ihm nach der
Fahne
he have.3.sg a
lot.of people who him to
the.f.dat flag(f)
red-en
die ihm nach dem
Mund
red-en
//
speak-inf who him to
the.m.dat mouth(m) speak-inf //
die ihr Fhn-chen nach dem
Wind
hng-en
who their flag(f)-dim to
the.m.dat wind(m) hang-inf
He has a lot of people who say what he wants to hear // who swim with the tide.

No matter whether one adopts a competing frame analysis for both types of blends
or not, it is clear that the intended element in (67) is substituted before MS, while
in (66b) a decision between the two competitors is made only after MS. Therefore,
only in the first case, a grammatical outcome isguaranteed.
The third type of error that may give rise to a feature mismatch within DP
are noun displacements. My corpus contains twelve errors of this type, two noun
anticipations and ten noun exchanges. Above, we have already seen that usually,
following a root displacement, features of the affected root are properly copied
onto other material within DP; see, for instance, the examples in (6) and (8a).
In the exchange in (68a), however, gender copy is not observed. Note that a feature clash is only visible for the first error element Mund (mouth) because in the
dative, the definite determiner (which cliticizes to the preposition) happens to be
the same for masculine and neuter gender. The lack of correct feature copy in this
error indicates that it takes place after spell-out. That is, we are dealing with a
word exchange and not with a root exchange (compare examples (36) and (37) in
Section6.4.4.1).35
. Given that the two error elements are neither affected by morpheme insertion nor phonological readjustment, another scenario could be suggested. According to this alternative
scenario, the error takes place after feature copy but before Vocabulary insertion. That is, first
gender features are copied, then the roots are exchanged (still at MS), and then Vocabulary
items are inserted. I dont see a way to decide between the two possible explanations. The same
holds for the French noun anticipation in (i). Here, the feminine noun ligne (line) takes the
place of the masculine noun livre (book) but still, the determiner surfaces in its masculine
form (Rossi & Defare 1995:28).

(i)

cest
le
mme ligne, le
mme livre
that.is the.m same line(f), the.m same book(m)

la
ligne
prs
to the.f line(f) exact

That is exactly the same book.



Remember, however, that the slip in (37) clearly indicates that words can be exchanged after
spell-out because in this error, one of the error elements is displaced in a phonologically readjusted and inflected form.

Rethinking accommodation

(68) a. das Mund


luft
mir im
Wasser zusammen

the.n mouth(m) run-3.sg me in.the.m/n.dat water(n) together

das Wasser luft


mir im
Mund
zusammen
the.n water(n) run-3.sg me in.the.m.dat mouth(m) together

It makes my mouth water.

b. Nagel-studio fr den
Dame, h, fr die
Dame

nail-studio for the.m.acc lady(f), er, for the.f.acc lady(f)

und den
Herrn
and the.m.acc gentleman(m)

nail studio for ladies and gentlemen

Finally, a gender mismatch within DP can also result from the displacement
of a determiner, as is illustrated in (68b), where the feminine noun Dame
(lady) combines with the masculine accusative determiner which appears to
be anticipated from the second DP. The self-correction suggests that we are
in fact dealing with a determiner anticipation and not with a noun anticipation. Again, the error must have taken place after feature copy. I assume
that it occurs after spell-out but in principle, nothing excludes the possibility
that a feature bundle has been anticipated at MS, following feature copy and
caseassignment.
6.7.1.3 Subcategorization errors
A different type of feature conflict is observed in subcategorization errors, the last
error type that I wish to discuss in this section. Agreement conflicts are not at
issue here; rather, subcategorization errors result from a conflict between a caseassigning element (mostly, a verb) and a case-marked argument. Verbs, for
instance, have specific lexically determined subcategorization frames, that is, they
require certain case-marked arguments. The selection of a wrongly case-marked
argument or the lack of an argument leads to ungrammaticality and this is what
we find in the subcategorization errors. 46 errors in my corpus belong to this
group; 43 of these are the result of a blend. In most of the blends, two verbs which
require differently case-marked arguments are in competition. Two examples are
given in (69). In (69a), the competing verbs are widersprechen (contradict) and
verletzen (violate); the first one assigns dative case, the second one accusative
case. In the blend, the accusative-assigning verb appears with the dative argument
(as is evident from the suffix on the adjective). Things are somewhat different in
(69b). In this error, the verb ahnen (suspect) combines with the reflexive pronoun
that is required by the competing verb denken (think). Hence, the error is not due
to the presence of a wrongly case-marked argument but rather to the presence of
a superflouosargument.

Grammar as Processor

(69) a.

eine Sprache,
die
bestimmt-en
UG-Prinzip-ien verletz-t
a.f language(f) rel.f certain-pl.dat UG-principle-pl violate-3.sg

die
bestimmt-en
UG-Prinzip-ien widersprich-t
//
rel.f certain-pl.dat UG-principle-pl contradict-3.sg //

die
bestimmt-e
UG-Prinzip-ien verletz-t
rel.f certain-pl.acc UG-principle-pl violate-3.sg

a language that contradicts//violates certain UG principles

b. ich habs
mir schon ge-ahn-t
ich habs

I have.1.sgit refl already part-suspect-part I have.1.sgit


mir ge-dach-t
// ich habs
ge-ahn-t
refl part-think-part // I
have.1.sgit part-suspect-part
I already thought so//I already suspected it.

The explanation for these two errors is quite similar to the one given above for
the DP-internal mismatches resulting from blends (see (66b)). That is, a decision
between two competing roots that entered the computation is only made after case
has been assigned at MS. For the cases with a wrongly case-marked argument,
we may assume that the roots compete for one and the same position within one
syntactic frame (a position that is licensed by a light verb), while in the errors that
contain a superfluous argument, it seems more likely that two frames are constructed which blend into one beforespell-out.
6.7.1.4 Summary
I conclude that all the errors discussed in this section have in common that they
occur too late in the derivation for the resulting morphological or morphosyntactic conflict to be repaired. They either occur at MS after features have been copied
and assigned, at PF when Vocabulary items are inserted, or after spell-out. Table
(70) gives an overview of the errors from my corpus that result in a morphosyntactic (gender or case) mismatch. Remember that my corpus does not contain morpheme stranding errors (the errors in (65) are taken from the Frankfurt corpus).
Therefore, stranding errors are not included in Table(70).
(70) Errors that result in a morphosyntactic mismatch (n =131)
feature mismatch within DP
due to ablend
due to a nounsubstitution
due to a nounexchange/anticipation
due to determinerexchange/anticip./persev.

48
13
12
12

subcategorizationerror
due to ablend
due to noun/determineranticip./perseveration

43
3

Total

85

46

131

Rethinking accommodation

Before concluding this section, I want to say a few more words about DP-internal
agreement errors that result from a noun displacement. Berg (1987) states that in
his corpus of German speech errors, non-accommodation of determiners is the
rule in such errors. In 1987, his corpus contained 36 noun errors in which adjustment of the determiner to the new noun would be required; these comprise 31
(incomplete) noun anticipations, four perseverations, and one exchange. Interestingly, in only five of these cases, accommodation of the determiner is observed.
In contrast, in my corpus, non-accommodation of a determiner after a noun (or
root) shift is the exception. As can be seen in Table (70), there are twelve noun
exchanges/anticipations that result in a feature mismatch. However, my corpus
also contains 43 noun displacements (exchange, anticipation, or perseveration) in
which the determiner matches the gender/number feature of the noun it combines
with in the error (these 43 cases are included in group in Table (59)). Note that
I exclude blends and noun substitutions from the count in order to allow for a
comparison with the distribution in Bergs corpus. In other words: in Bergs corpus, the determiner agrees with the new noun in 5 out of 36 noun errors (13.9%),
while in my corpus, correct DP-internal agreement is established in 43 out of 55
noun errors(78.2%).36
Given the analysis advocated above, we have to assume that the majority of
noun displacements in Bergs corpus takes place after spell-out, that is, that phonological words are anticipated, perseverated, or exchanged. In contrast, most
of the comparable errors from my corpus are root exchanges that occur before
feature copy at MS. I have no explanation for this striking difference in distribution. It is noteworthy, however, that all of the 36 errors that Berg (1987) cites are
self-corrected. Of these, eight are corrected within the word and 24 immediately
after the error element. Especially for some of the cases that involve word-internal self-correction, it seems quite likely that they are indeed phonological errors.
Example (71a), for instance, is clearly a phonological error because umlaut in
the anticipated element /m/ is triggered by a phonological readjustment rule
(Berg 1987: 297). This rule affects the Vocabulary item that spells out mann
(man) in the context of [+pl]. Given the self-correction, we cannot exclude the
possibility that the speaker was about to articulate in der Mtung. Consequently,
the error takes place too late to allow for gender accommodation (in the sense of
featurecopy).

. The distribution is different for blends that involve competing nouns of different gender
and/or number. In a total of 60 blends, we observe DP-internal feature mismatch in 48 cases
(see, for instance, (66b)). Thus, in only twelve blends (20%), the determiner (or adjective)
agrees with the noun (see (67) for an example).

Grammar as Processor

(71) a.

hast-e
ge-les-en,
was in der
M-,
have.2.sg-you part-read-part what in the.m.dat (error),

in der
Zeitung
ber die
Mnn-er steh-t
in the.m.dat newspaper(m) about the.pl man-pl stand-3.sg

Did you read what was written in the newspaper about men?

b. dass die
Text-, die
Schler den
Text

that the.pl text(m), the.pl pupil.pl the.m.acc text(m)

ge-kann-t
hab-en
part-know-part have-pl

that the pupils recognized the txt.

In other errors, it is not clear whether they involve feature mismatch at all. Consider, for instance, (71b). Actually, here we have two options to account for the
apparent gender mismatch. According to the first scenario, text (text) is anticipated, while the plural feature is stranded (see Section 5.4.1). In combination with
[+pl], text should be spelled out as Texte but self-correction stops the articulation during the noun. In this case, there is no feature mismatch because die
Texte would have been a grammatically well-formed DP. The alternative scenario
involves morpheme insertion. Note that Schler is morphologically complex; it is
a combination of schule (school) with the agentive suffix -er. The derived form
takes a zero plural suffix. Consequently, given agentive semantics, the anticipated
text will combine with the abstract morpheme [-er(m)] at MS. Due to the presence of a plural feature, the DP would be spelled out as die Texter (the text/story
writers) but self-correction stops the articulation just before the derivational suffix. As in the first scenario, no feature mismatch is involved in theerror.
Still, even given a possible reanalysis of some of Bergs data, it has to be
acknowledged that in his corpus, feature mismatch (failure to accommodate in
his terms) appears to be significantly more common in errors involving the displacement of nouns than in mycorpus.
6.7.2 Partial repair
Basically, I have argued that there are two options for speech errors. Either they
occur before DM-operations such as feature copy and morpheme insertion apply,
thereby resulting in a grammatical string, or they take place at or after spell-out
and give rise to an ungrammatical utterance. I shall now turn to a phenomenon
that suggests that grammaticality is not all or nothing: partial repair. For the
sake of illustration, consider the error in (72a). In this error, two roots that are
licensed by a determiner, bel (bad) and wurzel (root), are exchanged.
What makes this error problematic is the fact that following the error, gender
copy is observed in only one position. While the first DP resulting from the error

Rethinking accommodation

(die Wurzel) is fully grammatical, there is a feature mismatch in the second DP


(*derbel).
To be honest, I see no elegant way to account for these facts. On the one
hand, if two roots had been exchanged before feature copy onto the respective
determiners, then the outcome should be fully grammatical (die Wurzel an dem
bel). On the other hand, if the exchange had taken place after feature copy,
then a structure with feature mismatch within both DPs should have surfaced
(*das Wurzel an der bel). In order to somehow handle this slip, we therefore
have to assume that the erroneous derivation proceeds as follows: first, the gender feature of wurzel is copied but not that of bel; secondly, the roots are
exchanged; and thirdly, the gender feature of wurzel is copied for a second
time at its landing site. In other words, the gender feature of wurzel is copied
twice, while the gender feature of bel is not copied at all clearly not a very
satisfyingscenario.
(72) a. man muss
die
Wurzel an der
bel pack-en

one must.3.sg the.f.acc root(f) at the.f.dat evil(n) grab-inf

das
bel an der
Wurzel pack-en
the.n.acc evil(n) at the.f.dat root(f) grab-inf


One has to tackle the root of the problem.
b. da
bring-t
er dem
Hasen
den
Kind

there bring-3.sg he the.m/n.dat rabbit(m) the.m.acc child(n)

Then he brings the rabbit to the child.

dem
Kind
den
Hasen
the.n.dat child(n) the.m.acc rabbit(m)

The explanation of (72a) is a challenge for every theory. Fortunately, this error is
one of a kind and I therefore consider it exceptional. At first sight, the slip in (72b)
appears to have similar properties. Here, too, two roots are exchanged kind
(child) and hase (rabbit) and a feature mismatch is only attested in the second DP (the fully grammatical sequence would be dem Hasen das Kind). In this
error, however, the apparent partial repair is most probably due to the fact that
in the dative, the definite determiner is homophonous for masculine and neuter
nouns. Thus, the fact that the first DP sounds grammatical is a coincidence; featurewise there may still be amismatch.
The second instantiation of partial repair I want to briefly discuss is hypothetical in nature.37 The error in (73a) is an instance of morpheme stranding of the type

. I owe thanks to Heidi Harley for drawing my attention to this possibility and for pointing
out potential theoretical implications.

Grammar as Processor

discussed in Sections 6.4.4.2 and 6.7.7.1. The exchange of the morphemes /tra:f/
and /ly:g/ happens after spell out and consequently, the utterance resulting from
the error is not well-formed. The stranded plural suffix happens to be the appropriate one for Strafe (punishment) but the participial form that surfaces is incorrect.
If two roots had been exchanged before spell-out than the expected grammatical
outcome would be the one given in (73b). Note that lg (lie) requires a different participial allomorph and moreover, the Vocabulary item that spells out lg
will be subject to phonological readjustment in a [+part] context. That is, two
mechanisms are required to yield a grammatical (fully repaired) output. Now
consider the error in (73c). In this hypothetical case, lg does not combine with
the appropriate participial allomorph but the corresponding Vocabulary item does
undergo readjustment, that is, we observe partial repair. The question we need to
ask is whether the system predicts a case like (73c) to bepossible.38
(73) a. der
Mann hat
mich

the.m man(m) have.3.sg me

Lg-en ge-straf-t
lie-pl part-punish-part

The man has given the lie to me.

Straf-en ge-lg-t
punish-pl part-lie-part

b. Error with hypothetical full repair (root exchange):



der Mann hat mich Straf-en ge-log-en
c. Error with hypothetical partial repair:

der Mann hat mich Straf-en ge-log-t

In principle, (73c) should be a possible outcome if the exchange occurred after


Vocabulary insertion but before readjustment. Assume that the output of syntax
contains the intended combinations {lg; [+pl]} and {straf; [+part]}. At the

. Here I only consider partial repair for an example involving a participial form. Exactly
the same argument could be made for an error that includes a noun which requires phonological readjustment (umlaut) in the context of [+pl]. In this case, partial repair would imply
that this noun correctly undergoes readjustment in its post-error position but does not show
up with the appropriate plural allomorph.
Also note that there is yet another conceivable partial repair scenario for the slip in (73a),
namely one in which the root shows up with the appropriate participial allomorph but phonological readjustment is not observed; see (i).

(i)

der Mann hat mich Straf-en ge-lg-en

Lg-en ge-straf-t

I assume that there is no way for such a structure to be derived (unless we assume that the
required phonological readjustment simply doesnt take place) but I leave it to the reader to
do the detectives work necessary to verify this claim.

Rethinking accommodation

point of Vocabulary insertion, the roots will be spelled out first and subsequently,
the appropriate plural and participial allomorph will be inserted (the result being
Lg-en ge-straf-t). Then the phonological forms of the stems are exchanged,
and finally, the Vocabulary item /ly:g/ undergoes phonological readjustment, as
required in a [+part] context. This sequence of operations is illustrated in(74).
(74) Output of syntax:
Spell-out of roots:
Spell-out of features:
Stem exchange:
Readjustment:

{lg; [+pl]};
{/ly:g/; [+pl]};
/ly:g-n/;
/tra:f-n/;
/tra:f-n/;

{straf; [+part]}
{/tra:f/; [+part]}
/g-tra:f-t/
/g-ly:g-t/
/g-lo:g-t/

The fact that my corpus does not contain a single error that shows this type of
partial repair requires an explanation. One possibility would be to claim that phonological readjustment is tightly linked to the spell-out process and that errors
cannot occur between the spell-out of roots and readjustment. In other words:
displacement errors can only take place before the spell-out process sets off or after
phonological readjustment has applied (phonological substitutions, of course, take
place at the point of spell-out when Vocabulary items are selected from List1).
Alternatively, the absence of partial repair might be taken as evidence for a stemallomorphy account (as advocated, for instance, in Siddiqi (2006); see Section 6.4.6).
According to this line of reasoning, the surface form of lg in the context of
[+part] is not the result of a phonological readjustment rule but rather results from
the insertion of a different (more specified) Vocabulary item. Under such an analysis, the partial repair sequence in (73c) could never surface. In order to retrieve the
stem allomorph /lo:g/ from the Vocabulary, the exchange would have to take place
prior to Vocabulary insertion (so that lg appears in a [+part] context). However,
in this case, the processor would automatically supply the contextually appropriate
participial allomorph. As a consequence, the repair would be full, notpartial.
More research is required to further evaluate these two options (which, by the
way, are not mutually exclusive). But even this brief discussion highlights ways in
which the investigation of spontaneous errors can add to our understanding of
regular derivational processes in a formal model like DM. Once again, the study of
certain error patterns, and the absence thereof, may help us in uncovering details
of the workings of the system that are difficult to infer from flawlessproductions.
6.7.3 Summary
The errors discussed in this section contrast sharply with those presented in Sections 6.1 to 6.6. Obviously, despite the powerful DM-tools argued for previously, a
grammatical outcome is not always guaranteed. I have argued that all errors that
violate some grammatical well-formedness constraint must take place after MS,

Grammar as Processor

either during or after spell-out. That is, these errors occur too late for adaptation
to take place. I have shown that such adaptation failures may concern proper spellout of stems and affixes, feature copy within DP, and case assignment. Conversely,
whenever an error results in an utterance that is morphologically and morphosyntactically well-formed, this error must have taken place beforespell-out.
Furthermore, I have investigated the possibility of partial repair, that is, errors
in which one element be it a determiner or a stem changes its form as required
in its post-error environment, while another element does not. Generally, partial
repair seems to be highly exceptional. In particular, the fact that my corpus does
not include cases in which only the displaced stem adapts but not the affix may
shed light on the workings of certain components of the grammarmodel.

6.8 Conclusion
The existence of accommodations, that is, of errors that appear to involve the application of some post-error repair strategy, has intrigued psycholinguists for more
than thirty years. Still, in this chapter, I have advocated the claim that the concept
accommodation, while being a convenient descriptive label, does not have any
theoretical significance. Once we are equipped with the theoretical tools made
available by Distributed Morphology, apparent repair processes can be attributed
to the blind application of various DM-mechanisms. Hence, the postulation of
repair strategies in language production becomessuperfluous.
Let me briefly summarize the account I have given for the different types of
accommodations. First, in the framework I adopt, morphological error accommodations are the result of suppletion and phonological readjustment in certain
licensing environments, while morphological context accommodations follow
from morpheme insertion (due to local licensing) and context-sensitive spell out
of features. Second, morphosyntactic error accommodations are either due to
feature stranding or phonological readjustment, while morphosyntactic context
accommodations always result from feature copy. Finally, phonological and morphophonological error and context accommodations receive a straightforward
explanation when we assume phonological underspecification (of segments and
affixes) in combination with assimilation and feature spreading processes. The distribution of errors across the different processes I argued for is repeated in the top
part of Table(75).39

. For the sake of completeness, let me point out that, according to a traditional accommodation analysis, the 226 apparent accommodations in Table (75) would be classified as follows:

Rethinking accommodation

(75) Apparent and true accommodations (n =241)


apparent accommodation results from
featurecopy
featurestranding
locallicensing
errors involving lexicalconstrual
Total

226
103
53
70
15
241

In Table (75), I add to the picture the 15 cases that involve lexical construal. I have
argued that only these cases can be considered true accommodations because
they do indeed involve a repair following the actual error. Following a phonological error that results in a non-word, the Vocabulary is accessed again to
retrieve a phonologically similar Vocabulary item. Further research will have to
show whether an additional surface filter can be held responsible for certain selfcorrectionpatterns.
The discussion has demonstrated that a formal framework like DM can serve
as a valuable tool in making predictions about possible and impossible error types.
Conversely, however, a systematic study of spontaneous speech errors can also
usefully inform our understanding of how the grammatical systemworks.

36 morphological error accommodations, 60 morphological context accommodations,


27 morphosyntactic error accommodations, and 103 morphosyntactic context accommodations (see Table (59) for details).

chapter 7

Conclusion
After discussing various types of spontaneous speech errors in the context of the
Distributed Morphology framework, it is now time to come back to the multilevel models of language production introduced in Section 3.1. In the previous chapters, we have seen how speech errors which involve the manipulation
of semantic and morphosyntactic features can be accounted for within DM. In
some errors, the erroneous manipulation of a feature gives rise to a speech error
(for instance, an SVA-error). In other slips, the actual error concerns a root and
regular feature manipulation following the error, often in combination with other
mechanisms such as local licensing and phonological readjustment, can be held
responsible for the resulting surface form. Clearly, morphosyntactic (and semantic) features play a prominent role in flawless as well as in erroneous production. In contrast to that, I have argued that reference to lexical categories is not
required in order to account for the error patterns. Quite to the contrary, a number of intricate speech errors, which appear to involve the application of a repair
strategy, receive a straightforward account once we assume the manipulation of
acategorial roots, as is also assumed in DM. Roughly speaking, whenever an error
occurs within the computational system, that is, before or at the level of MS, MSand PF-operations guarantee that a grammatical utterance surfaces. Errors that
occur after MS-operations have applied, however, may result in an ungrammatical utterance since at this stage of the derivation, it is simply too late for adaptation to takeplace.
What remains to be done is to investigate how the morphosyntactic model
and the psycholinguistic model can be mapped onto each other. In Section 3.3,
I already pointed out that both models advocate a similar allocation of tasks. In
the production model, grammatical encoding (functional level) precedes phonological encoding (positional level). In the grammar model, the mechanisms
that derive a syntactically complex expression are taken to be strictly separate
from the mechanisms that supply the corresponding phonological expressions.
In Section 7.1, I will sketch how the DM-model can be mapped onto the production model. Basically, I claim that the DM-model takes the place of the formulator in Levelts (1989) model of language production. Secondly, in Section 7.2,

Grammar as processor

I will reconsider at which stages of the grammatical derivation the various types
of spontaneous speech errors occur. In addition, I will comment on some of
the benefits provided by a DM-inspired account of spontaneous speech errors.
Finally, in Section 7.3, I will re-examine error patterns that are a potential challenge to some of the claims made in thisbook.

7.1 Language production in the DM-model


In order to exemplify the basic mechanisms that are active in the generation of an
utterance, I will sketch the derivation of the simple intransitive sentence in(1).
(1) Die
Katze-n schnurr-en
def.pl.nom cat-pl purr-pl
The cats are purring.

Obviously, in any model, a prerequisite for the generation of an utterance is a communicative intention of a speaker, the wish to convey some message. On the basis
of the message intention, nodes are activated at the conceptual level (or conceptual stratum). In the present example, the concept nodes katze (cat), schnurr
(purr), multiple(x) (which must be linked to katze), and possibly definite
(indicating that the speaker refers to some particular cats) are activated. The conceptual level is a highly interconnected network and therefore some of these concept nodes feed activation to neighboring nodes as, for instance, tier (animal),
hund (dog), miau (miaow), and bellen (tobark).
In the DM-model, activated concept nodes spread activation to corresponding roots and features in List 1. Note that the concept