Poster D56, Monday, March 26, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
The Influence of Verb Bias on Online Mandarin Relative Clause (RC) Processing: an ERP study
Jou-An Chung1, Chia-Lin Lee1, Chia-Ying Lee2; 1National Taiwan University, Taiwan, 2Academia Sinica, Taiwan
The preference of processing either subjective (SRC) or objective relative clause (ORC) in Mandarin has been extensively investigated; however, inconsistencies are found across theories and psycholinguistic experiments which might appear to arise from the fact that most of the studies focus on RC structure itself, but other factors such as context should be also taken into account. Hence, this study aims to investigate how verb bias which carries both syntactic and semantic information incrementally modulates RC processing in Mandarin, and further examines two language processing models: constraint-based and two-stage model. 41 verbs chosen from Sinica Corpus were classified into three types of biases: Direct Object (DO), Sentential Complement (SC), and Equilibrium Balanced (EQ). Each verb is followed by a ORC (1stnoun + RCverb + RCmarker DE + head noun). Relative to SC bias condition, several effects were seen in DO bias condition, including frontal positivity (630-1000ms) to the RCverb, indicating the difficulty of processing unexpected but plausible syntactic structure, N400 effect to DE, reflecting integration process, and late frontal negativity (650-850ms) to head noun, revealing the need of referential binding between DO bias verb and direct object. While verb exhibits clear tendency towards specific syntactic and semantic information, readers use verb's embedded information to predict upcoming structure, supporting constraint-based model. EQ bias condition showed a similar pattern with DO condition. When processing EQ bias verb, readers tend to expect simple syntactic structure, supporting two-stage model. In sum, this study provides ERP evidence that verb bias incrementally influences Mandarin RC processing.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Syntax