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Title: The representation of conceptual and syntactic information during sentence production
Author: Tanaka, Mikihiro
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2008
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My main concern in this thesis is to explore the representation and the mechanism underlying the production of syntactic structures and word order, and how these are affected by conceptual factors, focusing on animacy. Two types of psycholinguistic experiments are presented here. First, two recall experiments that investigated how animacy affects syntax in language production are discussed. In Experiment 1, Japanese speakers were more likely to recall Object-Subject-Verb (OSV) sentences as Subject-Object-Verb (SOV) sentences when this allowed an animate subject to appear first than when it allowed an inanimate subject to appear first; there was no such tendency for SOVs to be recalled as OSVs or for conjunct order to vary according to animacy. Experiment 2 showed that speakers again recalled OSVs as SOVs more often when this led to an animate-first sentence. However, they tended to recall sentences in the alternative voice (recalling actives as passives and vice versa) when this allowed the animate entity to appear as the subject. Secondly, I report three syntactic priming experiments. Syntactic priming is the tendency for speakers to show a reliable increase in the use of particular syntactic structures after repeating or hearing those structures in an unrelated sentence (e.g., Bock 1986). Although in Experiment 3 and 4, Japanese speakers showed significant priming effects for word order and voice, speakers were no more likely to assign an animate entity as the subject function or first position in the word order after hearing a sentence in which an animate entity appeared in the same position than in an alternative position (e.g., the object or in the second position). Experiment 5 also confirmed that English speakers showed very similar results. Taken together, these results suggest grammatical functions and word order are determined during the same stage of processing, and that animacy exerts its effects on this single stage.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available