Semantically implied irregular inflection.
Subject: Anglo-Saxon language (Research)
Semantics (Influence)
Psycholinguistics (Research)
Grammar, Comparative and general (Inflection)
Grammar, Comparative and general (Research)
Author: Deibler, Scott
Pub Date: 03/22/2012
Publication: Name: International Social Science Review Publisher: Pi Gamma Mu Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Social sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 Pi Gamma Mu ISSN: 0278-2308
Issue: Date: Spring-Summer, 2012 Source Volume: 87 Source Issue: 1-2
Topic: Event Code: 310 Science & research
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 294895886
Full Text: Introduction

This study examines the effect on inflection by implied irregularity through manipulation of semantic information. Old English words and non-words are used here in an effort to increase their novelty and, thus, decrease their familiarity with the Modern English-speaking participants. It is expected that the participants would favor the regular formation of the past tense in an Old English verb when the irregular nature of the verb could not be inferred semantically because the sentence object appeared in Old English. They would then favor irregular formation of the past tense once the sentence object is revealed in Modern English and the verb could be inferred to be irregular. Participants rated their preference for three inflectional forms of a series of Old English words under conditions where the object of the sentence was in Old English or Modern English. The results favored the regular form when the object was in Old English and showed no significant difference between the regular and irregular forms after the object was presented in Modern English. The effect of semantics upon the inflectional preference of the participants appears to support the single-model theory of language, which theorizes that language is processed in a generalized manner like any other stimuli. This would cover the processing of all relevant stimuli, including semantics, which matches the findings of this study. It is hoped that the novel approach employed here will encourage further research to settle the ongoing theoretical debate within psycholinguistics between supporters of the dual-mechanism and single-system theories of linguistic cognition.

For the last quarter-century, psycholinguistics has been embroiled in a debate between two dialectically opposing theories concerning how the human brain processes language. The disagreement has concentrated on the English past tense form, which is created by the predictable addition of the suffix ed to the root verb in the majority of English verbs (e.g., acted, walked). Yet, there are as many as 180 exceptions where an irregular past tense form is created in an erratic manner, such as seek-sought. The English past tense has been the central focus of this language-processing research since it has these two distinct forms which could be determined differently by these opposing theories. (1) One should bear in mind that in English the verb can also be isolated from syntax (word order), since syntax has no effect upon tense. (2) These opposing theories differ in the cognitive processes that they believe are used to determine inflection, that is, the variation of verb form due to a change in tense, and whether semantics should influence inflection.

The dual-mechanism theory is based upon the premise that the brain is a collection of functionally specific regions and that certain areas have evolved to process language. This theory posits that a main area of the brain processes the structures found in language that follow distinct rules and patterns, such as regular past tense in English. (3) A secondary associative memory area learns the exceptions to the main rules, like irregular past tense in English, and stores them entirely. (4) When determining which past tense form to take for an English verb, the word is first compared to the known exceptions, taking the matching irrational form if found. If not, the regular past tense verb form is created by the addition of -ed. (5) Evidence of the over-regularization of verbs exists to corroborate this theory. (6)

The single-system theory posits that the brain is a homogenous general processor of information comprised of countless neural connections which interact with each other and process all stimuli in the same manner, regardless of their source. Language information is therefore processed in a single generalized routine just as other conditions from the environment. An input enters the neural network, is processed along with all other relevant data, and an output is determined. This theory is embedded in the idea that language is processed like other stimuli, so the differing outputs are contextually specific based upon the differing additional data. (7) The past tense form of an English verb would therefore be determined not by comparing the exceptions or adopting the rules, but rather by factoring in other data such as meaning, spelling, and sound while processing the verb. (8)

Both theories provide explanations for the general processing of language, but they are less able to cope with specific details in actual research. One of the main methods of research has been measuring reaction time during priming tasks, which determine whether a preceding prime word influences the response to a related target word. (9) Studies performed using morphologically similar primes (e.g., rake, raking) (10) find that the reaction times to the paired taget words are decreased. However, these results are not consistent with other studies. (11) Cognitive psychologists Lorraine K. Tyler, Emmanuel A. Stamatakis, Roy W. Jones, Peter Bright, Kadia Acres, and William D. Marsten-Wilson performed a study on four participants with semantic deficit, which found only one with irregular inflective impairment, which, they argued, would not be possible under the single-system theory. (12) Psycholinguists Marc F. Joanisse and Mark S. Seidenberg conducted a computer simulation which indicated that irregular inflective impairments could occur from deficits related to semantics (meaning) and phonology (sound), thus countering the assertion put forth by Tyler et al. (13)

The effect of semantics upon irregular inflection has been explored by psycholinguist Michael Ramscar, who proposed that a study of semantics could yield results to end this debate. (14) He posited that if semantics played an influential role in verb inflection, participants would inflect novel non-words (e.g., frink) in the way they would similar sounding English verbs (e.g., blink for regular or drink for irregular) based upon the semantics of the sentence. (15) His study placed these non-words (e.g., frink) into paragraphs, where their meaning could be interpreted and associated with either regular (e.g., blink) or irregular (e.g., drink) forms, and the participants were asked to create past tense versions of these verbs. (16) Ramscar found that most participants produced past tense versions as predicted by the semantic inference. (17) The impact of this research, however, has been downplayed by critics who argue that Ramscar did not isolate semantics and only presented participants with a choice between the two associations, such as drink or blink. (18)

There is a large quantity of cognitive research involving the English past tense. Much of it has been conducted to support preferential theories or to undermine opposing theories. (19) Methods of research that have yielded contradictory results are repeatedly used while novel approaches seem to escape inquest. Novel research needs to be stressed in order to resolve this dispute. Accordingly, this study pursues a novel approach to cognitive research involving semantic influence upon English verb inflection through the use of Old English words and non-words. By doing so, it questions the novelty assumed in the use of non-words derived from Modern English, especially where they are phonologically (sound) and visually similar to actual Modern English words (e.g., frink:drink). Old English words were chosen in an effort to increase the novel impact of these non-words among the Modern English-speaking participants in this study.

This research placed the words in a syntactical framework (sentence) and made use of actual Old English words and Old English derived non-words instead of Modern English derived non-words. It examines how participants rate their level of acceptability (likeness) of three past tense verbs to a given Old English present tense verb. The three verbs represent the regular past tense form (Regular Verb Form) and irregular past tense form (Irregular Verb Form) from Modern English, along with the actual Old English irregular past tense verb. This study manipulates object knowledge, thus allowing participants to infer the irregularity of the verb by means of semantics. The acceptability of the three verb forms is then examined under the conditions of whether the sentence object was in Old English (Object Unknown) or Modern English (Object Known).

This study tests the following hypothesis: If the meaning of the sentence object is not known to the participant, then the meaning of the verb cannot be inferred from the object and native English-speaking people will prefer the word which represents the past tense regular verb form over those that represent the irregular verb form or the actual Old English past tense verb. The participant will prefer the word representing the irregular past tense verb form over the word representing the regular verb form when the meaning of the verb could be inferred from knowledge of the sentence object.

Method

Participants

Convenience sampling was used to select participants in this study, all eighteen years of age or older. This sampling method makes no attempt to create a sample that can be generalized to a larger population. Instead, it seeks to use participants who were conveniently accessible to the researcher. Participants were selected from members of the Penn State-Harrisburg community and from acquaintances of the experimenter. The limitations in generalizability, due to the sampling method which acquired participants based on ease of accessibility, was compensated by sampling thirty native English speakers by self-report in an effort to strengthen the statistical significance of the results. The experimenter tried to draw from a diverse cross section of ages and genders, resulting in a sample comprised of fifteen male and fifteen female participants ranging in age from twenty-one to seventy-six (M 33.17). No incentive was offered to those who participated in this study.

Materials

The experimenter created a test to determine the participants' preference in past tense verb form (see Appendix). Participants were instructed to answer each statement based on their initial feeling. The test was divided into two sections on separate pieces of paper so as to eliminate comparison between the two sections. The first section presented the participants with a series of questions, each containing four statements. Participants were told that each of these statement's verb, which was underlined, was in present tense. This statement was followed by three statements labeled A, B, and C. Participants were told that each of these statement's verbs, which was also underlined, was in the past tense. Participants were then asked to rate each past tense verb on how likely they thought each one represented the past tense form of the present tense verb in the initial statement by indicating their preferred level of likeliness on a five-point numerical scale ranging from Highly Unlikely on the lower extreme to Highly Likely on the upper extreme (see Appendix).

The initial statement presented in each question was a present tense verb that the participants were told was fictional. These words were actual Old English verbs (e.g., siehp) that have irregular forms in Modern English (e.g., to see). This deception was used to minimize attempts by participants to decipher the meaning of the Old English words, since the research was attempting to examine affective preference rather than reasoning abilities. (Ethical concerns over the use of such deceit could be eliminated in future research. This is addressed in the discussion section.) A few online resources were consulted to research the Old English words. (20) The three statements that followed contained past tense variations of the initial statement's verb (e.g., sawon, siehbed, and saw). One of these words was the actual past tense verb in Old English (e.g., sawon), and is referred to as the Actual Old English Verb. One of these statement's verbs was created using the modern regular verb form by adding the suffix -ed (e.g., siehped), and is addressed as the Regular Verb Form. The third word was created by making a form similar to the modern irregular form of the particular verb (e.g., saw), and is known as the Irregular Verb Form. The object in all four statements of each question appeared in Old English.

The second section of the test was similar to the first except that the object of each statement was the Modern English version (e.g., ocean) of the Old English noun (e.g., felwaeg) used in the corresponding statement in the first section. These words were chosen to allow the participant to better infer the meaning of the verb.

The ordering of the answers rotated among the questions. Three versions of the test were created to allow the A, B, and C statements in each question to be rotated through all possible orders. Participants were asked to provide their age and sex at the end of the test.

Study Design

This study was created by using a factorial design method. (21) It had two factors: verb form and object information. Verb form contained three conditions: Actual Old English Verb, Regular Verb Form, and Irregular Verb Form. Object knowledge contained two conditions: Object Unknown and Object Known. The object knowledge variable was manipulated during the test when the participant transitioned from Section One to Section Two. The study measured the participant's preference for past tense verb forms by using a five-point numerical scale, ranging from Highly Unlikely to Highly Likely.

The sequential design of the experiment allowed for within-subject design, where the same group of participants is used to test both conditions. This allowed for ease of administration and controllability. The sequence of the test, with the participants not knowing the object at first and then learning of the object in Section Two, could not have been reversed. The ability to compare participant answers with and without object knowledge added to the validity of the results. The verb form conditions in the test were counter-balanced using the Latin-square method. (22) The test had three versions, with each order of verb form conditions represented.

Procedure

The study was conducted at locations convenient to the participants. Participants were each given an instruction sheet and asked to read it. These written instructions were supplemented with oral directions. Participants were then asked if they understood the instructions. Any questions from the participants were answered by the experimenter. Participants were each given one version of the test along with a writing implement. They then read each statement and rated the contained verb. When the participant reached the end of the Section One, that part of the study was collected before they were given Section Two. Upon completion, participants returned Section Two and the writing implement. They were then debriefed about the intent of the research and the use of deception in this study.

Results

Data were collected of the likeliness of past tense indicated by three verb forms under conditions of Object Unknown and Object Known. The means were calculated for the Regular and Irregular Verb Forms, along with the Actual Old English Verbs, under both conditions of object knowledge. Mean and standard deviation scores for the three verb forms under both conditions are presented in Table 1. The research was performed to show that native English-speaking people would prefer a past tense created in the Regular Verb Form (suffix -ed) when they are unable to infer if the verb was irregular, but would prefer the Irregular Verb Form once they could infer irregularity from the sentence object.

A t-test was performed to determine the effects of object knowledge on the likeliness of past tense for the Regular and Irregular Verb Forms as well as the Actual Old English Verb. The likeliness of the Regular Verb Form under conditions of Object Unknown (M=4.10) decreased under conditions of Object Known (M=3.62), t (29)=3.28, p=.003. The likeliness of the Irregular Verb Form under the condition of Object Unknown (M=3.05) increased under the condition of Object Known (M=3.36), t (29)=2.39, p=.024. The actual Old English past tense verbs indicated no significant change under the Object Unknown conditions (M=2.28) when compared with the Object Known conditions (M=2.23), t (29)=-.60, p=ns (not statistically significant).

A t-test was also conducted to compare the Regular and Irregular Verb Forms under the Object Unknown and Object Known conditions. The test indicated that, under the condition of Object Unknown, the Regular Verb Forms' (M=4.10) likeliness of past tense was significantly higher than the Irregular Verb Forms (M =3.05), t (29) = 4.50, p < .001. The test also showed that, under the condition of Object Known, the Regular Verb Forms' (M-3.62) likeliness of past tense yielded no significant difference over the Irregular Verb Forms (M=3.36), t (29)=.85, p=ns (see Table 2).

The results of this study support the hypothesis by showing that the Regular Verb Form possessed the highest likeliness score (M-4.10) under the condition of Object Unknown. The second part of the hypothesis was not supported by the findings of this study since the Irregular Verb Form did not possess the highest likeliness score Under the condition of Object Known. However, this research determined the likeliness scores of the Regular Verb Form dropped from the Object Unknown (M=4.10) to Object Known condition (M=3.62), while the Irregular Verb Form increased from the Object Unknown (M=3.05) to the Object Known condition (M-3.36), resulting in there being no significant difference between both verb forms under the influence of object knowledge, t (29)=.85, p-ns.

Discussion

This study finds that without knowing the meaning of the object, and therefore lacking the semantic means of inferring the meaning of the verb, participants favored the verb form which mimicked the regular past tense of Modern English. Once the object was revealed, participants preferred the regular verb form less than before the revelation and their preference for the irregular form increased to a similar level as the regular form. The preference for the actual Old English past tense verb remained constant despite the change in semantic conditions.

The dual-mechanism theory would hypothesize that the participants in this study should favor the Regular Verb Form under both conditions, since they would be unable to find a known exception or association and would instead follow the standard rule. By contrast, the single-system theory would predict that the preference for inflection could vary under conditions of semantic implication, that is, when the meaning of the verb could be inferred through knowledge of the object. The results of this study appear to support the single-system theory, even though the overall preference favored the Regular Verb Form. Whereas previous studies used words out of context, this research placed them in a syntactic structure, which, according to proponents of dual-mechanism theory, should not affect inflection. (23) The only variable manipulated during the experiment was the revelation of the object of the sentence. The participant was free to infer the meaning of verb and the association with a Modern English irregular verb on their own. This is precisely how the participants reacted, even to the point of the Regular Verb Form losing its significant preference. The results of this study thus favor the single-system theory by showing that object knowledge influenced preference in verb form.

This study collected data concerning the participants' sex and age, but analysis of these factors was excluded for various reasons. The information based upon sex was excluded due to the sampling method and a selection bias that favored one sex based upon socioeconomic status and educational attainment. The results of the age-based analysis were excluded due to the small sample size of this study, and a bias based upon socioeconomic status, educational attainment, and years removed from an academic setting. Future research should be conducted with a larger sample size and should collect data to analyze for differences and to control for variations in sex, age, race, ethnic background, educational attainment, years separated from an academic environment, and socioeconomic status among participants. Collecting such demographic information would greatly increase the scope of research on the topic and strengthen any conclusions based upon such research.

The preliminary aspect of this study requires further research and fine-tuning of the methods used to attain its findings. One area of concern that was learned from the participants was the unexpected perplexity caused by the use of letters that are not used in Modern English. As a result, participants were unable to pronounce the words in their minds. This may be related to the aforementioned demographic information, but the data would need to be collected and analyzed. A follow-up experiment could test to see if the phonetic spelling of the Old English words and Old English non-words produces different results. The favorable aspect of the use of these non-letters is the minimized effect of phonology (sound) on the results. Subsequent research could explore this relationship in phonology, and there is the potential for parallel research based upon vocalization rather than the written form of these words. It should also be noted that some participants had greater difficulty answering the questions. Future research may wish to examine this phenomenon by comparing the demographic information weighted by quickness of completion of the test.

The exploratory nature of this research was facilitated through the use of a paper-based testing procedure which eased administration, but also placed limitations upon this study. Future studies conducted in a research facility would be better able to control for environmental variation. The use of a computer-based testing method would allow for the collection of additional data, such as response time, and would ease the implementation of time-limited responses. One issue of concern in this study was the ethical concerns over the use of deception involved with the use of Old English words being referred to as nonwords. This was done to help mitigate the potential influence of participant reasoning upon their preference for verb form. A time-limited response would help to minimize the influence of rationality upon the participants' preference in verb form. A switch to this format would eliminate the justification for the use of deception. In addition, it should be noted that there was a potential for bias among preferences within each group of statements representing variations of the same verb, due to the participant being able to make comparisons while completing the test. Individual statements with the present tense verb presented with a single example of a potential past tense variation would minimize such bias. These could also be randomized in their order of administration, thereby eliminating other potential biases.

The results of this study are significant, but generalizations derived from them are limited without additional research that would examine the details of the semantically implied irregular inflection effect. Demographic information needs to accompany future research in order to control for other factors, such as educational attainment, years separated from an academic environment, and socioeconomic status, which could potentially skew the results. Researchers in the area of English inflection should place an emphasis upon enhancing knowledge in the field through actual experimental research. Such research should explore unexamined territories in an effort to expand this knowledge base through the use of novel methods. Previous research reduced the examination of inflection to word pairs which were segregated from syntax, but in order to examine the influence of other stimuli on language processing, future research should expand upon the method employed in this study by situating words in a sentence structure. Further research should also examine the use of non-words that are not based upon Modern English. This could mitigate any potential bias due to the comfort level and familiarity afforded to Modern English derived non-words.

The semantically implied irregular inflection effect may not have a major impact on the field of cognitive linguistics because it strays too far from traditional methods of research rooted in the ongoing theoretical debate in psycholinguists described at the beginning of this paper. But if an emphasis is not placed upon experimental research, regardless of its theoretical associations, what else is being overlooked?

Appendix A

Verb Tense Study

Instructions: Read the first statement. Pay attention to the underlined, fictitious, present tense verb. Then read the following three sentences. On the scale to the right, circle the appropriate number, indicating how likely you think the underlined, fictitious word represents the past tense of the underlined, fictitious, present tense verb in the initial statement. Go with your initial, instinctive choice. Do not over analyze your answer. I am looking for an instinctive response rather than a rational decision.

ENDNOTES

(1) Aneta Kielar, Marc F. Joanisse, and Mary L. Hare, "Priming English Past Tense Verbs: Rules or Statistics?" Journal of Memory and Language 58, no. 2 (February 2008):327-28.

(2) Steven Pinker, "Rules of Language," Science 253, no. 5019 (August 1991):531.

(3) Kielar, Joanisse, and Hare, "Priming English Past Tense Verbs," 328; Pinker, "Rules of Language," 531.

(4) Ibid (both sources).

(5) Ibid (both sources).

(6) Steven Pinker and Alan Prince, "On Language and Connectionism: Analysis of a Parallel Distributed Processing Model of Language Acquisition," Cognition 28, no. 1 (March 1988):157-63.

(7) David E. Rumelhart and James L. McClellan& "On Learning the Past Tenses of English Verbs," in Parallel Distributed Processing." Explanations in the Microstructure of Cognition, vol. 2, Psychological and Biological Models, eds. James L. McClelland and David E. Rumelhart (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1986), 216-19.

(8) Pinker, "Rules of Language," 531-32.

(9) Kielar, Joanisse, and Hare, "Priming English Past Tense Verbs," 329.

(10) Laurie Beth Feldman and Emily G. Soltano, "Morphological Priming: The Role of Prime Duration, Semantic Transparency, and Affix Position," Brain and Language 68, no. 1-2 (June 1999):34-35; Matthew John Pastizzo and Laurie Beth Feldman, "Does Prime Modality Influence Morphological Processing?" Brain and Language 81, no. 1-3 (April-June 2002):33.

(11) Kielar, Joanisse, and Hare, "Priming English Past Tense Verbs," 330.

(12) Lorraine K. Tyler, Emmanuel A. Stamatakis, Roy W. Jones, Peter Bright, Kadia Acres, and William Marslen-Wilson, "Deficits for Semantics and the Irregular Past Tense: A Causal Relationship?" Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 16, no. 7 (September 2004): 1165.

(13) Marc F. Joanisse and Mark S. Seidenberg, "Impairments in Verb Morphology after Brain Injury: A Connectionist Model," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 96, no. 13 (June 1999):7595-97.

(14) Michael Ramscar, "The Role of Meaning in Inflection: Why the Past Tense Does Not Require a Rule," Cognitive Psychology 45 no. 1 (August 2002):47.

(15) Ibid., 50.

(16) Ibid., 55.

(17) Ibid., 57.

(18) Steven Pinker and Michael Ullman, "Combination and Structure, Not Gradedness, is the Issue: Reply to McClelland and Patterson," Trends in Cognitive Science 6, no. 11 (November 2002):473.

(19) Joanisse and Seidenberg, "Impairments in Verb Morphology after Brain Injury," 7593.

(20) Peter S. Baker, Introduction to Old English (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2003), 60-80; Joseph Bosworth and T. Northcote Toller, An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, based on the Manuscript Collections of the Late Joseph Bosworth, edited and enlarged by T. Northcote Toller (London: Oxford University Press, 1898), 40, 210, 275, 509, 594, 873, 1088.

(21) A factorial design is an experimental design where there are two or more independent variables which are manipulated to study the effects they have upon the dependent variable.

(22) The Latin-square method in experimental design is a procedure where a table is created with the various conditions being inserted so that each appears only once in each column and row. The use of this method randomizes the conditions, thereby reducing the sources of variability and, therefore, leads to greater precision in measurement.

(23) Pinker, "Rules of Language," 531.

SCOTT DEIBLER received his BS in sociology from Prom State-Harrisburg in December 2011.
1)    He siehp the felwaeg.
A)    He sawon the felwaeg.            Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
B)    He siehped the felwaeg.          Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
C)    He saw the felwaeg.              Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5

2)    She wat the andswaru.
A)    She wisse the andswaru.          Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
B)    She wated the andswaru.          Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
C)    She wew the andswaru.            Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5

3)    He gaeo haord.
A)    He eode haord.                   Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
B)    He gaeoed haord.                 Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
C)    He huent haord.                  Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5

4)    She bencp about the intinga.
A)    She bohte about the intinga.     Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
B)    She bencped about the intinga.   Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
C)    She boght about the intinga.     Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5

5)    He fehp the feoh.
A)    He feng the feoh.                Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
B)    He fehped the feoh.              Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
C)    He feohk the feoh.               Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5

6)    She deo the handgewinn.
A)    She dydest the handgewinn.       Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
B)    She deoed the handgewinn.        Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
C)    She dyde the handgewinn.         Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5

7)    He seep sigehreo.
A)    He sohte sigehreo.               Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
B)    He secped sigehreo               Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
C)    He soght sigehreo.               Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5

8)    She sliehp the uhtflaga.
A)    She sloh the uhtflaga.           Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
B)    She sliehped the uhtflaga.       Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
C)    She sliew the uhtflaga.          Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5

9)    He siehp the ocean.
A)    He sawon the ocean.              Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
B)    He siehped the ocean.            Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
C)    He saw the ocean.                Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5

10)   She wat the answer.
A)    She wisse the answer.            Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
B)    She wated the answer.            Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
C)    She wew the answer.              Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5

11)   He geeo home.
A)    He eode home.                    Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
B)    He gaeoed home.                  Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
C)    He huent home.                   Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5

12)   She bencp about the issue.
A)    She bohte about the issue.       Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
B)    She pencped about the issue.     Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
C)    She feohk about the issue.       Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5

13)   He fehp the money.
A)    He feng the money.               Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
B)    He fehped the money.             Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
C)    He feohk the money.              Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5

14)   She deo the work.
A)    She dydest the work.             Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
B)    She deoded the work.             Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
C)    She dyde the work.               Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5

15)   He secp fame.
A)    He sohte fame.                   Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
B)    He seeped fame.                  Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
C)    He soght fame.                   Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5

16)   She sliehp the dragon.
A)    She sloh the dragon.             Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
B)    She sliehped the dragon.         Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5
C)    She sliew the dragon.            Highly Unlikely  1  2  3  4  5

1)    He siehp the felwaeg.
A)    He sawon the felwaeg.            Highly Likely
B)    He sieh ed the felwaeg.          Highly Likely
C)    He saw the felwaeg.              Highly Likely

2)    She wat the andswaru.
A)    She wisse the andswaru.          Highly Likely
B)    She wated the andswaru.          Highly Likely
C)    She wew the andswaru.            Highly Likely

3)    He gaeo haord.
A)    He eode haord.                   Highly Likely
B)    He gaeoed haord.                 Highly Likely
C)    He huent haord.                  Highly Likely

4)    She benep about the intinga.
A)    She bohte about the intinga.     Highly Likely
B)    She bencped about the intinga.   Highly Likely
C)    She boght about the intinga.     Highly Likely

5)    He fehp the feoh.
A)    He feng the feoh.                Highly Likely
B)    He fehped the feoh.              Highly Likely
C)    He feohk the feoh.               Highly Likely

6)    She deo the handgewinn.
A)    She dydest the handgewinn.       Highly Likely
B)    She deoed the handgewinn.        Highly Likely
C)    She dyde the handgewinn.         Highly Likely

7)    He seep sigehreo.
A)    He sohte sigehreo.               Highly Likely
B)    He seeped sigehreo               Highly Likely
C)    He soght sigehreo.               Highly Likely

8)    She sliehp the uhtflaga.
A)    She sloh the uhtflaga.           Highly Likely
B)    She sliehped the uhtflaga.       Highly Likely
C)    She sliew the uhtflaga.          Highly Likely

9)    He siehp the ocean.
A)    He sawon the ocean.              Highly Likely
B)    He siehped the ocean.            Highly Likely
C)    He saw the ocean.                Highly Likely

10)   She wat the answer.
A)    She wisse the answer.            Highly Likely
B)    She wated the answer.            Highly Likely
C)    She wew the answer.              Highly Likely

11)   He geeo home.
A)    He eode home.                    Highly Likely
B)    He gaeoed home.                  Highly Likely
C)    He huent home.                   Highly Likely

12)   She benep about the issue.
A)    She bohte about the issue.       Highly Likely
B)    She pencped about the issue.     Highly Likely
C)    She feohk about the issue.       Highly Likely

13)   He deo the money.
A)    He feng the money.               Highly Likely
B)    He fehped the money.             Highly Likely
C)    He feohk the money.              Highly Likely

14)   She deo the work.
A)    She dydest the work.             Highly Likely
B)    She deoded the work.             Highly Likely
C)    She dyde the work.               Highly Likely

15)   He secp fame.
A)    He sohte fame.                   Highly Likely
B)    He seeped fame.                  Highly Likely
C)    He soght fame.                   Highly Likely

16)   She sliehp the dragon.
A)    She sloh the dragon.             Highly Likely
B)    She sliehped the dragon.         Highly Likely
C)    She sliew the dragon.            Highly Likely

Sex: Female | Male  Age: --


Table 1: Contrast between Object Unknown and Object Known
Conditions for Past Tense Likeliness per Verb Form

                            Object Unknown  Object Known

Verb forms                    M       SD      M       SD    t(29)

Irregular Verb Form          3.05    .076    3.36    0.96    2.39
Regular Verb Form            4.10    0.82    3.62    0.95   -3.28
Actual Old English Verb      2.28    0.74    2.23    0.57   -0.60

Verb forms                      p

Irregular Verb Form           .024 *
Regular Verb Form             .003 **
Actual Old English Verb        ns

* p<.05. ** p<.01.

Table 2: Contrast of Past Tense Likeliness for Irregular and Regular
Verb Forms Under Object Unknown and Object Known Conditions

                  Irregular       Regular
                  Verb Form       Verb Form

Conditions          M      SD        M       SD    t(29)       p

Unknown Object     3.05   0.076      4.10   0.82    4.50   <.001 ***
Known Object       3.36    0.96      3.62   0.95    0.85         ns

*** p < .001.
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