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ERIC Number: EJ883267
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 35
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 56
ISSN: ISSN-0169-0965
Does the Grammatical Count/Mass Distinction Affect Semantic Representations? Evidence from Experiments in English and Japanese
Iwasaki, Noriko; Vinson, David P.; Vigliocco, Gabriella
Language and Cognitive Processes, v25 n2 p189-223 2010
We investigate linguistic relativity effects by examining whether the grammatical count/mass distinction in English affects English speakers' semantic representations of noun referents, as compared with those of Japanese speakers, whose language does not grammatically distinguish nouns for countability. We used two tasks which are sensitive to semantic similarity, error induction in picture naming and similarity judgments, upon nouns referring to food items (English words and their translation equivalents in Japanese), and contrasted English speakers' performance to that of Japanese speakers. Results reveal that speakers of both languages are highly sensitive to semantic correlates of the English count/mass distinction, suggesting that the grammatical count/mass distinction in English does not affect English speakers' semantic representations in a language-specific manner, contrary to predictions of linguistic relativity theories, in which this grammatical property should exert language-specific effects on English speakers' semantic representations while they are engaged in language tasks. (Contains 14 footnotes and 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A