ERIC Number: EJ776449
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Reference Count: 0
On the "Give" and "Take" between Event Apprehension and Utterance Formulation
Gleitman, Lila R.; January, David; Nappa, Rebecca; Trueswell, John C.
Journal of Memory and Language, v57 n4 p544-569 Nov 2007
Two experiments are reported that examine how manipulations of visual attention affect speakers' linguistic choices regarding word order, verb use and syntactic structure when describing simple pictured scenes. Experiment 1 presented participants with scenes designed to elicit the use of a perspective predicate ("The man chases the dog/The dog flees from the man") or a conjoined noun phrase sentential Subject ("A cat and a dog/A dog and a cat"). Gaze was directed to a particular scene character by way of an attention-capture manipulation. Attention capture increased the likelihood that this character would be the sentential Subject and altered the choice of perspective verb or word order within conjoined NP Subjects accordingly. These effects occurred even though participants reported being unaware that their visual attention had been manipulated. Experiment 2 extended these results to word order choice within Active versus Passive structures ("The girl is kicking the boy/The boy is being kicked by the girl") and symmetrical predicates ("The girl is meeting the boy/The boy is meeting the girl"). Experiment 2 also found that early endogenous shifts in attention influence word order choices. These findings indicate a reliable relationship between initial looking patterns and speaking patterns, reflecting considerable parallelism between the on-line apprehension of events and the on-line construction of descriptive utterances.
Descriptors: Verbs, Personality, Nouns, Attention, Visual Perception, Word Order, Language Usage, Phrase Structure, Pictorial Stimuli, Language Processing, Task Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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