Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 1–17 | Cite as

The relativity of linguistic intuition: The effect of repetition on grammaticality judgments

  • Hiroshi Nagata


Three experiments were performed to show the relativity of linguistic intuition in grammaticality judgments. In Experiment 1, 12 students judged the relative grammaticality of isolated sentences twice, receiving a repetition treatment between the two judgments. During the repetition phase, they were exposed to a repeated presentation of sentences. The findings show that the repetition treatment makes a judgment criterion more stringent for both grammatical and ungrammatical sentences. In Experiment 2, a release-from-the-proactive-inhibition paradigm was used. Twelve students first judged the grammaticality of the isolated sentences, then received the repetition treatment, and finally, made a second judgment for the sentences embedded in context. No change in judgment criterion was found for the second judgment. Judgments of the ungrammatical sentences, when embedded in context, were found to be more lenient. In Experiment 3, 12 students judged sentences embedded in context. No change in judgment criterion was found. These findings are interpreted as suggesting that linguistic intuitions as revealed in grammaticality judgments are not absolute but relative in that they are easily influenced by repetition and other variables, such as embedded context.


Cognitive Psychology Repetition Treatment Repeated Presentation Judgment Criterion Relative Grammaticality 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiroshi Nagata
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Health SciencesOkayama UniversityShikata, OkayamaJapan

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