Argument order as an expectation trigger in Korean

Abstract

Expected words/constituents are often processed faster than unexpected words/constituents. In languages like English that verbs are placed before arguments that they encode, the occurrence of verbs pre-activates upcoming arguments, suggesting that verbs’ arguments are expected upon the recognition of verbs. However, this is not the case for languages like Korean that verbs are placed after the arguments associated with verbs. This study investigated whether argument order might play a role in cuing upcoming arguments. Using Hong et al.’s materials, we conducted a completion study. We found that patients were expected when recipients were introduced before, whereas recipients were not expected when patients were introduced before, suggesting that comprehenders might expect encountering patients after recipients but not vice versa. The probability of patients/recipients was correlated with the frequency of regressions that Hong et al. observed. We will further examine the role of probability and uncertainty in processing in terms of expectation.


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