2017-10-25Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.1515/ling-2017-0031
On the interplay of object animacy and verb type during sentence comprehension in German: ERP evidence from the processing of transitive dative and accusative constructions
Sprach- und literaturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Comprehension of transitive sentences relies on different kinds of information, like word order, case marking, and animacy contrasts between arguments. When no formal cues like case marking or number congruency are available, a contrast in animacy helps the parser to decide which argument is the grammatical subject and which the object. Processing costs are enhanced when neither formal cues nor animacy contrasts are available in a transitive sentence. We present an ERP study on the comprehension of grammatical transitive German sentences, manipulating animacy contrasts between subjects and objects as well as the verbal case marking pattern. Our study shows strong object animacy effects even in the absence of violations, and in addition suggests that this effect of object animacy is modulated by the verbal case marking pattern.
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.