The processing of singular and plural nouns in French and English

Boris New*, Marc Brysbaert, Juan Segui, Ludovic Ferrand, Kathleen Rastle

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    65 Citations (Scopus)


    Contradictory data have been obtained about the processing of singular and plural nouns in Dutch and English. Whereas the Dutch findings point to an influence of the base frequency of the singular and the plural word forms on lexical decision times (Baayen, Dijkstra, & Schreuder, 1997), the English reaction times depend on the surface frequency of the presented word form only (Sereno & Jongman, 1997). To settle this contradiction, we first examined the issue in the French language to see which interpretation generalized to a new language. Having found that the French data were similar to the Dutch data, we then reassessed the English evidence. On the basis of our findings, we conclude that the similarities among the languages are greater than the differences, and that the data are more in line with the Dutch pattern than with the previously reported English pattern. These data rule out the full-storage model as a viable account of the recognition of singular and plural noun forms.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)568-585
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Memory and Language
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


    • Dual-route model
    • Inflectional morphology
    • Lexical decision
    • Number
    • Word recognition


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