Advertisement

Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 257–283 | Cite as

The interpretation and prediction of event participants in Mandarin verb-final active and passive sentences

  • Johannes GerwienEmail author
Research Paper
  • 34 Downloads

Abstract

The role of the markers bèi and bǎ for thematic role assignment in Chinese NP1-marker-NP2-V sentences was investigated in adult native speakers. While word order is identical, thematic roles are distributed reversely in these structures [patient-bèi-agent, (passive); agent--patient, (active)]. If Mandarin speakers interpret NP1 as the agent of an event, viewing behavior was expected to differ between conditions for NP1-objects, indicating the revision of initial role assignment in the case of bèi. Given reliability differences between markers for role assignment, differences in anticipatory eye movements to NP2-objects were expected. 16 visual stimuli were combined with 16 sets of sentence pairs; one pair partner featuring a bèi-, the other a bǎ-structure. Growth curve analysis of 28 participants’ eye movements revealed no attention differences for NP1-objects. However, anticipatory eye movements to NP2-objects differed. This suggests that a stable event representation is constructed only after NP1 and the marker have been processed, but before NP2. As a control variable, syntactic/semantic complexity of NP1 was manipulated. The differences obtained indicate that the visual world paradigm is in principle sensitive to detect language-induced processing costs, which was taken to validate the null-finding for NP1. Interestingly, NP1 complexity also modulated predictive processing. Findings are discussed with respect to a differentiation between interpretative and predictive aspects incremental processing.

Keywords

Predictive processing Eye movements Thematic role assignment Agent-first strategy Mandarin passive Semantic complexity 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest. 

References

  1. Allopenna, P. D., Magnuson, J. S., & Tanenhaus, M. K. (1998). Tracking the time course of spoken word recognition using eye movements: Evidence for continuous mapping models. Journal of Memory and Language,38(4), 419–439.  https://doi.org/10.1006/jmla.1997.2558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Altmann, G. T. M., & Kamide, Y. (1999). Incremental interpretation at verbs: Restricting the domain of subsequent reference. Cognition,73(3), 247–264.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0010-0277(99)00059-1.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Altmann, G. T. M., & Kamide, Y. (2004). Now you see it, now you do not: Mediating the mapping between language and the visual world. In J. Henderson & F. Ferreira (Eds.), The interface of language, vision, and action: Eye movements and the visual world (pp. 347–386). New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  4. Altmann, G. T. M., & Mirković, J. (2009). Incrementality and prediction in human sentence processing. Cognitive Science,33(4), 583–609.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1551-6709.2009.01022.x.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Barr, D. J. (2008). Analyzing ‘visual world’ eyetracking data using multilevel logistic regression. Journal of Memory and Language,59(4), 457–474.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2007.09.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bever, T. G. (1970). The cognitive basis for linguistic structures. In J. R. Hayes (Ed.), Cognition and the development of language (Vol. 279, pp. 1–61). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  7. Bornkessel, I., & Schlesewsky, M. (2006). The extended argument dependency model: A neurocognitive approach to sentence comprehension across languages. Psychological Review,113(4), 787.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.113.4.787.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I., Kretzschmar, F., Tune, S., Wang, L., Genç, S., Philipp, M., et al. (2011). Think globally: Cross-linguistic variation in electrophysiological activity during sentence comprehension. Brain and Language,117(3), 133–152.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2010.09.010.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Chao, Y. R. (1968). A grammar of spoken Chinese. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  10. Cooper, R. M. (1974). The control of eye fixation by the meaning of spoken language: A new methodology for the real-time investigation of speech perception, memory, and language processing. Cognitive Psychology.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0010-0285(74)90005-X.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Crocker, M. W., Knoeferle, P., & Mayberry, M. R. (2010). Situated sentence processing: The coordinated interplay account and a neurobehavioral model. Brain and Language,112(3), 189–201.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2009.03.004.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Demiral, Ş. B., Schlesewsky, M., & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I. (2008). On the universality of language comprehension strategies: Evidence from Turkish. Cognition,106(1), 484–500.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2007.01.008.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Eberhard, K., Spivey-Knowlton, S., Sedivy, J., & Tanenhaus, M. (1995). Eye movements as a window into real-time spoken language processing in natural contexts. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research,24, 409–436.  https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02143160.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Frawley, W. (1992). Linguistic semantics. Hillsdale: Laurence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  15. Gerwien, J., & Rudka, M. (2019). Expectation changes over time: How long it takes to process focus imposed by German ‘sogar.’ In Ó. Loureda, I. Recio Fernández, L. Nadal, & A. Cruz (Eds.), Empirical studies of the construction of discourse (pp. 229–251).  https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.305.08ger.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gerwien, J., Wang, Y., & Wu, F. (2019). Predictive processing is affected by linguistic complexity of cue-preceding input. Poster presented at the 32nd annual CUNY conference on human sentence processing, March 29–March 31, 2019.  https://doi.org/10.17605/osf.io/jerp4.
  17. Gerwien, J., & Xi, K. (2017). Predicting object states in Mandarin Chinese—insights from the bǎ-construction. Poster presented at the 30th annual CUNY conference on human sentence processing, March 30April 1, 2017.  https://doi.org/10.13140/rg.2.2.35243.85286.
  18. Gibson, E. (1998). Linguistic complexity: Locality of syntactic dependencies. Cognition,68(1), 1–76.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0010-0277(98)00034-1.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Hsiao, F., & Gibson, E. (2003). Processing relative clauses in Chinese. Cognition,90(1), 3–27.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0010-0277(03)00124-0.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Huang, Y. T., Zheng, X., Meng, X., & Snedeker, J. (2013). Children’s assignment of grammatical roles in the online processing of Mandarin passive sentences. Journal of Memory and Language,69(4), 589–606.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2013.08.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Huettig, F., Rommers, J., & Meyer, A. S. (2011). Using the visual world paradigm to study language processing: A review and critical evaluation. Acta Psychologica,137(2), 151–171.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2010.11.003.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Ito, A., Corley, M., & Pickering, M. J. (2018). A cognitive load delays predictive eye movements similarly during L1 and L2 comprehension. Bilingualism Language and Cognition,21(2), 251–264.  https://doi.org/10.1017/s1366728917000050.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jäger, L., Chen, Z., Li, Q., Lin, C.-J. C., & Vasishth, S. (2015). The subject-relative advantage in Chinese: Evidence for expectation-based processing. Journal of Memory and Language,79–80, 97–120.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2014.10.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kaiser, E., & Trueswell, J. C. (2004). The role of discourse context in the processing of a flexible word-order language. Cognition,94(2), 113–147.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2004.01.002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Kamide, Y., Altmann, G. T. M., & Haywood, S. L. (2003a). The time-course of prediction in incremental sentence processing: Evidence from anticipatory eye movements. Journal of Memory and Language,49(1), 133–156.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0749-596x(03)00023-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kamide, Y., Scheepers, C., & Altmann, G. T. M. (2003b). Integration of syntactic and semantic information in predictive processing: Cross-linguistic evidence from German and English. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research,32(1), 37–55.  https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021933015362.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Kuperberg, G. R., & Jaeger, T. F. (2016). What do we mean by prediction in language comprehension? Language Cognition and Neuroscience,31(1), 32–59.  https://doi.org/10.1080/23273798.2015.1102299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. LaPolla, R. J. (2009). Chinese as a topic-comment (not topic-prominent and not SOV) language. In J. Xing (Ed.), Studies of Chinese linguistics: Functional approaches (Vol. 1, pp. 9–22). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Levy, R. (2008). Expectation-based syntactic comprehension. Cognition,106(3), 1126–1177.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2007.05.006.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Lewis, R. L., & Vasishth, S. (2005). An activation-based model of sentence processing as skilled memory retrieval. Cognitive Science,29(3), 375–419.  https://doi.org/10.1207/s15516709cog0000_25.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Li, P., Bates, E., & MacWhinney, B. (1993). Processing a language without inflections: A reaction time study of sentence interpretation in Chinese. Journal of Memory and Language,32(2), 169–192.  https://doi.org/10.1006/jmla.1993.1010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Li, C. N., & Thompson, S. A. (1976). Subject and topic: A new typology of language. Subject and topic. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  33. Li, C. N., & Thompson, S. A. (1981). Mandarin Chinese: A functional reference grammar. California: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  34. Matin, E., Shao, K., & Boff, K. (1993). Saccadic overhead: Information procesing time with and without saccades. Perception and Psychophysics,53, 372–380.  https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03206780.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Miao, X. (1981). Word order and semantic strategies in Chinese sentence comprehension. International Journal of Psycholinguistics,8(3), 109–122.Google Scholar
  36. Miao, X., Chen, G., & Ying, H. (1986). Sentence comprehension in Chinese. Studies in Child Language Development,1986, 40–53.Google Scholar
  37. Mirman, D. (2014). Growth curve analysis and visualization using R. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  38. Mitsugi, S. (2017). Incremental comprehension of Japanese passives: Evidence from the visual-world paradigm. Applied Psycholinguistics,38(4), 953–983.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0142716416000515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Philipp, M., Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I., Bisang, W., & Schlesewsky, M. (2008). The role of animacy in the real time comprehension of Mandarin Chinese: Evidence from auditory event-related brain potentials. Brain and Language,105(2), 112–133.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2007.09.005.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Tanenhaus, M. K., Spivey-Knowlton, M. J., Eberhard, K. M., & Sedivy, J. C. (1995). Integration of visual and linguistic information in spoken language comprehension. Science,268(5217), 1632–1634.  https://doi.org/10.1126/science.7777863.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Trueswell, J. C., Tanenhaus, M. K., & Garnsey, S. M. (1994). Semantic influences on parsing: Use of thematic role information in syntactic ambiguity resolution. Journal of Memory and Language,33(3), 285–318.  https://doi.org/10.1006/jmla.1994.1014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Weckerly, J., & Kutas, M. (1999). An electrophysiological analysis of animacy effects in the processing of object relative sentences. Psychophysiology,36(5), 559–570.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0048577299971202.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Wu, F., Kaiser, E., & Andersen, E. (2012). Animacy effects in Chinese relative clause processing. Language and Cognitive Processes,27(10), 1489–1524.  https://doi.org/10.1080/01690965.2011.614423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Yang, N., & van Bergen, G. (2007). Scrambled objects and case marking in Mandarin Chinese. Lingua,117(9), 1617–1635.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2006.06.009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Yang, Y., Wu, F., & Zhou, X. (2015). Semantic processing persists despite anomalous syntactic category: ERP evidence from Chinese passive sentences. PLoS One,10, 6.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0131936.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Zhang, Y., Yu, J., & Boland, J. E. (2010). Semantics does not need a processing license from syntax in reading Chinese. Journal of Experimental Psychology Learning Memory and Cognition,36(3), 765.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0019254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ruprecht Karls Universität HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

Personalised recommendations