The purpose of this research was to study grammatical categories in the Tagalog mental lexicon using lexical decision tasks. Some linguists question whether words in Tagalog can be classified as nouns and verbs (Foley, 1998; Kaufman, 2011) because most root words can be inflected for any grammatical function and because verbs cannot be used in their uninflected form. Previous studies with English and German (Kauschke and Stenneken 2008) have shown that participants respond differently to nouns and verbs in lexical decision tasks. These studies have also shown that participants respond differently to transitive and intransitive verbs in lexical decision tasks. It was assumed that if nouns and verbs exist in Tagalog, response times to Tagalog lexical decision tasks will show similar patterns to those performed in English and German. Two experiments were performed to examine whether words are classified as nouns and verbs in the Tagalog mental lexicon and whether other factors affected that classification. For the experiments, native speakers of Tagalog participated in lexical decision tasks and response times were measured. The first experiment tested the classification of root nouns and verbs. Contrary to findings in other languages, there was no significant difference between response times to nouns and verbs. However, there were differences in response times to nouns from different semantic categories and to verbs with different morphosyntactic structures. The second experiment examined the classification of inflected nouns and verbs. Again, the results showed no difference between response times to nouns and verbs. There was also no difference between transitive and intransitive verbs. However, there was a slight difference between verbs of different voice inflections. The results of the experiments suggest the while the grammatical classes of nouns and verbs may not be the most important features of words in the Tagalog mental lexicon, they may still play a role since different features, semantics or morphosyntactics, did affect the responses to words from the different categories.
College and Department
Humanities; Linguistics and English Language
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Walton, Linda, "Nouns and Verbs in the Tagalog Mental Lexicon" (2012). All Theses and Dissertations. 3546.
Tagalog, mental lexicon, grammatical categories, psycholinguistics, lexical decision task