|Abstract||According to the ‘word/rule’ account, regular inﬂection is computed by a default, symbolic process, whereas irregular inﬂection is achieved by associative memory. Conversely, patternassociator accounts attribute both regular and irregular inﬂection to an associative process. The acquisition of the default is ascribed to the asymmetry in the distribution of regular and irregular tokens. Irregular tokens tend to form tight, well-deﬁned phonological clusters (e.g. sing-sang, ring-rang), whereas regular forms are diffusely distributed throughout the phonological space. This distributional asymmetry is necessary and sufﬁcient for the acquisition of a regular default. Hebrew nominal inﬂection challenges this account. We demonstrate that Hebrew speakers use the regular masculine inﬂection as a default despite the overlap in the distribution of regular and irregular Hebrew masculine nouns. Speciﬁcally, Experiment 1 demonstrates that regular inﬂection is productively applied to novel nouns regardless of their similarity to existing regular nouns. In contrast, the inﬂection of irregular sounding nouns is strongly sensitive to their similarity to stored irregular tokens. Experiment 2 establishes the generality of the regular default for novel words that are phonologically idiosyncratic. Experiment 3 demonstrates that Hebrew speakers assign the default regular inﬂection to borrowings and names that are identical to existing irregular nouns. The existence of default inﬂection in Hebrew is incompatible with the distributional asymmetry hypothesis. Our ﬁndings also lend no support for a type-frequency account. The convergence of the circumstances triggering default inﬂection in Hebrew, German and English suggests that the capacity for default inﬂection may be general. © 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved..|
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