Verb-Control Information in Parsing Japanese Reflexive Sentences

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This study explores whether lexical information in verbs influences activation of an antecedent by a Japanese reflexive pronoun, jibun. Verb information specified that the reflexive was bound to an indirect object despite it being ordinarily associated with a subject in Japanese sentences. 30 students were administered a probe-recognition task in which a probe was given either for the subject or for the indirect object immediately after the reflexive or at the end of a sentence following the verb. Recognition times were faster for a subject-probe than for an indirect-object-probe regardless of the probe position. This finding indicates that the reflexive activates only the subject, and verb-control information is not immediately used when parsing Japanese sentences involving the reflexive.

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