Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 163–188

The Effects of Word-Order and Case Marking Information on the Processing of Japanese

  • Hiroko Yamashita

DOI: 10.1023/A:1025009615473

Cite this article as:
Yamashita, H. J Psycholinguist Res (1997) 26: 163. doi:10.1023/A:1025009615473


Many studies in processing English report that verb information plays a significant role in processing the rest of the sentence (e.g., Boland & Tanenhaus, 1991). Japanese is subject-object-verb (SOV), head-final language with the phenomena of scrambling and phonologically null pronouns. The fact that verb information does not become available until the end of a clause leads one to ask whether other types of information may be utilized in the on-line processing of Japanese. The current study investigated whether word order and case markers play a role. Overall, no effect of word order was observed, even though the frequency of the scrambled sentences was low. Experiment 1 found no extra processing load in processing scrambled sentences. In Experiment 2, no effect of word order was found in the parser's decision making in computing a syntactic structure prior to the verb. On the other hand. Experiment 3 found that the parser was sensitive to the variety of case-marked arguments. The results of the three experiments are more congruent with the nonconfigurational structure than with the configurational structure at the stage of preverbal syntactic processing in Japanese.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiroko Yamashita
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbana
  2. 2.Department of East Asian Languages and CulturesUrbana