Integration of Syntactic and Semantic Information in Predictive Processing: Cross-Linguistic Evidence from German and English
- Cite this article as:
- Kamide, Y., Scheepers, C. & Altmann, G.T.M. J Psycholinguist Res (2003) 32: 37. doi:10.1023/A:1021933015362
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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.