Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Psycholinguist Res. 2014 Feb;43(1):13-25. doi: 10.1007/s10936-012-9236-0.

Sublexical and lexico-syntactic factors in gender access in Spanish.

Author information

  • 1Departamento de Psicología Cognitiva, Social y Organizacional, Campus de Guajara, Universidad de La Laguna, 38205,  Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain,


The influence of sublexical and lexico-syntactic factors during the grammatical gender assignment process in Spanish was studied in two experiments using the gender decision task. In Experiment 1, the regularity of the ending of gender-marked nouns (masculine nouns ended in -o and feminine nouns ended in -a) and of nouns with gender-correlated but unmarked word-endings (e.g., -ad) was manipulated. The results showed that regularity affected reaction times and error rates only in the case of gender-marked nouns, suggesting that the mere statistical distribution of a word-ending across genders is not responsible for the regularity effect. In Experiment 2, gender-marked nouns and gender-unmarked nouns were preceded by a masked prime which could be a definite article (which provides information about the gender of the noun) or a possessive pronoun (which does not contain gender information). The presentation of the definite article led to shorter reaction times and less errors only when the word-ending was different from -o or -a. Taken together, these results indicate that gender assignment in Spanish is carried out through different processes depending on the noun ending: gender decisions for gender-marked nouns are based on the gender-to-ending distribution. Meanwhile, gender decisions for unmarked nouns seem to require the retrieval of the corresponding definite grammatical article, regardless of the statistical distribution of the noun ending across genders.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk