Generalized Event Knowledge in Logical Metonymy Resolution


The interpretation of logical metonymies like "begin the book" has traditionally been explained by assuming the existence of complex lexical entries containing information about event knowledge (qualia roles: reading the book/writing the book). Qualia structure provides concrete constraints on interpretation, which are however too rigid to be cognitively plausible. We suggest generalized event knowledge as an alternative source of interpretation. Results from a first self-paced reading experiment, where we capitalize on the verb-final word order in German subordinate phrases to create rich expectations for events, are presented to support this hypothesis. Consequences of this hypothesis for the interpretation logical metonymies are (a), it is primarily driven by pragmatic and world knowledge; (b), it may use the same (rather than distinct) mechanisms and resources as general incremental sentence comprehension does.

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