Event-related brain potentials were recorded as 18 German-speaking subjects read sentences that contained as critical words German nouns in correct and incorrect plural forms. Two types of plurals were investigated: regular -s plurals (e.g. Karussell-s 'roundabouts') and irregular -(e)n plurals (Muskel-n 'muscles'). We compared correct regular and irregular plurals with incorrect ones; the latter had -(e)n on nouns that actually take -s plurals (*Karussell-en), or -s on nouns that require -(e)n (*Muskel-s). ERPs showed different responses to regular and irregular plurals: incorrect irregular plurals (*Muskel-s) elicited a ramp-shaped left frontotemporal negativity, whereas incorrect regulars (*Karussell-en) produced a central phasic negativity with a maximum at 380ms. This dissociation supports the view that regularly inflected words are processed differently from irregularly inflected ones.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)957-962
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.1997

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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