Use of Semantic Information to Interpret Thematic Information for Real-Time Sentence Comprehension in an SOV Language

Yokoyama, Satoru; Takahashi, Kei; Kawashima, Ryuta
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Recently, sentence comprehension in languages other than European languages has been investigated from a cross-linguistic perspective. In this paper, we examine whether and how animacy-related semantic information is used for real-time sentence comprehension in a SOV word order language (i.e., Japanese). Twenty-three Japanese native speakers participated in this study. They read semantically reversible and non-reversible sentences with canonical word order, and those with scrambled word order. In our results, the second argument position in reversible sentences took longer to read than that in non-reversible sentences, indicating that animacy information is used in second argument processing. In contrast, for the predicate position, there was no difference in reading times, suggesting that animacy information is NOT used in the predicate position. These results are discussed using the sentence comprehension models of an SOV word order language.


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