ON-LINE SENTENCE COMPREHENSION OF AMBIGUOUS VERBS IN MANDARIN


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Abstract

The current work explores the issue of category in lexical ambiguity resolution. The central question is whether the preceding sentential context can influence access of lexical meaning in on-going sentence comprehension. Previous studies have concentrated on lexical ambiguity resolution of nouns. These studies, on the whole, have demonstrated that the lexical access system operates independently of previous sentential context. However, previous psycholinguistic work on semantic change suggests that verbs are more susceptible to coercive change than nouns. I explore the possibility that this susceptibility of verbs to semantic change will allow sentential context to influence their lexical access. I find, instead, that the lexical access system still operates independently of preceding sentential context. The implications of this finding are presented in terms of two different views of cognitive processing – the modular and the interactionist view.

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