Integration of syntactic and semantic information in predictive processing: cross-linguistic evidence from German and English

Yuki Kamide, Christoph Scheepers, Gerry T. M. Altmann

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    161 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Two visual-world eyetracking experiments were conducted to investigate whether, how, and when syntactic and semantic constraints are integrated and used to predict properties of subsequent input. Experiment 1 contrasted auditory German constructions such as, The hare-nominative eats ... (the cabbage-acc) versus The hare-accusative eats ... (the fox-nom), presented with a picture containing a hare, fox, cabbage, and distractor. We found that the probabilities of the eye movements to the cabbage and fox before the onset of NP2 were modulated by the case-marking of NP1, indicating that the case-marking (syntactic) information and verbs'' semantic constraints are integrated rapidly enough to predict the most plausible NP2 in the scene. Using English versions of the same stimuli in active/passive voice (Experiment 2), we replicated the same effect, but at a slightly earlier position in the sentence. We discuss the discrepancies in the two Germanic languages in terms of the ease of integrating information across, or within, constituents.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37-55
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Psycholinguistic Research
    Volume32
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003

    Keywords

    • Sentence processing
    • Anticipatory eye movements
    • Visual-world paradigm
    • Prediction
    • Germanic languages

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