Case marking affects the processing of animacy with simple verbs, but not particle verbs : An event-related potential study

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ALEXIADOU, Artemis, ed., Elisabeth Sophia Maria VERHOEVEN, ed.. The Syntax of Argument Structure : Empirical Advancements and Theoretical Relevance. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2021, pp. 69-103. Linguistische Arbeiten. 581. ISBN 978-3-11-075715-6. Available under: doi: 10.1515/9783110757255-004
Zusammenfassung

In sentence comprehension, animate-animate argument sequences are associated with higher processing costs than animate-inanimate argument sequences. This increase in processing costs is reflected in enhanced N400 components in ERP measurements. In German, a language that morphologically marks case on the arguments of verbs, this increase in processing cost is only found for standard nominative-accusative assigning verbs, but not for nominative-dative assigning verbs.

So far, it is unclear whether this interplay between object animacy and case marking in sentence comprehension reflects the non-standard syntax or semantics of nominative-dative assigning verbs. We present the results of two ERP experiments designed to tease apart syntactic and semantic contributions to lexical case marking effects in sentence comprehension. Our first experiment monitored the interaction of object animacy and case marking for non-separable simple verbs. This experiment revealed an enhanced N400 for animate objects with simple verbs assigning nominative-accusative, but not for those assigning nominative-dative. Our second experiment monitored the same interaction for separable particle verbs. This experiment revealed an enhanced N400 for animate relative to inanimate objects, both for particle verbs assigning nominative-accusative and nominative-dative. Our results suggest that the attenuation of the object animacy effect for simple nominativedative verbs reflects the processing of syntactic, rather than semantic, differences between verb classes.

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400 Sprachwissenschaft, Linguistik
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sentence comprehension, argument processing, animacy, case, lexical case, particle verbs, German, ERP, N400
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ISO 690CZYPIONKA, Anna, Carsten EULITZ, 2021. Case marking affects the processing of animacy with simple verbs, but not particle verbs : An event-related potential study. In: ALEXIADOU, Artemis, ed., Elisabeth Sophia Maria VERHOEVEN, ed.. The Syntax of Argument Structure : Empirical Advancements and Theoretical Relevance. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2021, pp. 69-103. Linguistische Arbeiten. 581. ISBN 978-3-11-075715-6. Available under: doi: 10.1515/9783110757255-004
BibTex
@incollection{Czypionka2021marki-59697,
  year={2021},
  doi={10.1515/9783110757255-004},
  title={Case marking affects the processing of animacy with simple verbs, but not particle verbs : An event-related potential study},
  number={581},
  isbn={978-3-11-075715-6},
  publisher={De Gruyter},
  address={Berlin},
  series={Linguistische Arbeiten},
  booktitle={The Syntax of Argument Structure : Empirical Advancements and Theoretical Relevance},
  pages={69--103},
  editor={Alexiadou, Artemis and Verhoeven, Elisabeth Sophia Maria},
  author={Czypionka, Anna and Eulitz, Carsten}
}
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