The typology of the linearization of person marking raises a challenge to any theory positing that morpheme order reflects a cognitive bias towards linearizations that mirror morphosyntactic composition: while it is generally agreed that person composes with the verbal stem before number, the sparse typological data available suggests that the latter tends to linearly precede number, rather than occurring systematically closer to the stem. In this paper we use artificial language learning experimental techniques to show that this apparent cross-linguistic tendency does not correlate with a learning preference; instead, learners show a general bias to place person closer to the verbal stem than number, thus providing further evidence for a cognitive bias favouring orders that mirror morphosyntactic composition.
Maldonado, M., Saldana, C. and Culbertson, J. (2020) Learning biases in person-number linearization. In M. Asatryan, Y. Song & A. Whitmal (Eds.), Proceedings of the 50th Annual Meeting of the North East Linguistic Society (Vol 2, pp. 163-176). Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts GLSA.