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ERIC Number: EJ1148146
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Aug
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0090-6905
The Semantic Processing of Motion Verbs: Coercion or Underspecification?
Lukassek, Julia; Pryslopska, Anna; Hörnig, Robin; Maienborn, Claudia
Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, v46 n4 p805-825 Aug 2017
Underspecification and coercion are two prominent interpretive mechanisms to account for meaning variability beyond compositionality. While there is plentiful evidence that natural language meaning constitution exploits both mechanisms, it is an open issue whether a concrete phenomenon of meaning variability is an instance of underspecification or coercion. This paper argues that this theoretical dispute can be settled experimentally. The test case are standard motion verbs (e.g. "walk," "ride") in combination with ±telic directional phrases, for which both underspecifaction and coercion analyses have been proposed in the literature. A self-paced reading study which incorporates motion verbs, directional phrases and durative/completive temporal adverbials (1) aims at determining the aspectual value of such verbs, and (2) compares the hypotheses of the Underspecification and Coercion Accounts. The results of the reading time experiment (flanked by a corpus study and a completion study) indicate that motion verbs are aspectually underspecified. They combine with ±telic directional phrases with equal ease. The combination with a mismatching temporal adverbial is an instance of coercion, causing additional processing costs.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A