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Academic Paper

Title: Learning grammatical gender: The use of rules by novice learners
Author: Nora Presson
Institution: Carnegie Mellon University
Author: Brian Macwhinney
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Carnegie Mellon University
Author: Natasha Tokowicz
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Linguistic Field: Morphology
Subject Language: French
Abstract: Two experiments successfully trained novices to categorize French nouns by grammatical gender, resulting in high levels of performance after delay. Training with a frequent exemplar and training with a more diverse exemplar set led to equivalent learning. However, providing explicit rules with correctness feedback led to better generalization and retention than did correctness feedback alone or feature focusing without explicit rule information. This suggests that, at least for some grammar tasks, explicit information about form–function mappings improves learning. Moreover, the advantage of rule instruction was robust to testing and training under time pressure. Thus, rule instruction may be helpful even when speeded performance is required, supporting the prediction that practice leads to proceduralization of declarative grammatical knowledge.


This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 35, Issue 4.

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