Article published in:Linguistics in the Netherlands 2018
Edited by Bert Le Bruyn and Janine Berns
[Linguistics in the Netherlands 35] 2018
► pp. 65–78
The late reactivation of the argument of unaccusative verbs
An eye-tracking experiment using the Visual World Paradigm (VWP) shows that in on-line sentence processing in English the argument of an unaccusative verb reactivates late after verb offset. In contrast to previous studies, this VWP experiment establishes the exact time course of this effect, which matches the time course previously found for Dutch, despite differences in word order between the two languages. Furthermore, it uncovers an early reactivation of the argument of unergative verbs that has previously gone unnoticed. Such an effect has previously been observed for Dutch, but not for English. Moreover, the effect seems to occur earlier in English than in Dutch. We suggest that this difference may be due to the more rigid word order of English, which provides the parser with more informative cues.
Keywords: unaccusativity, language processing, Visual World Paradigm (VWP), argument reactivation
Published online: 03 December 2018
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