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Processing correlates of lexical semantic complexity

Gennari, S. and Poeppel, D. (2003) Processing correlates of lexical semantic complexity. Cognition, 89 (2). B27-B41. ISSN 0010-0277

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This paper explores how verb meanings that differ in semantic complexity are processed and represented. In particular, we compare eventive verbs, which denote causally structured events, with stative verbs, which denote facts without causal structure. We predicted that the conceptually more complex eventive verbs should take longer to process than stative verbs. Two experiments, a lexical decision task and a self-paced reading study, confirmed this prediction. The findings suggest that (a) semantic complexity is reflected in processing time, (b) processing verb meanings involves activating properties of the event structure beyond participants' roles, and (c) more generally, lexical event structures, which subsume thematic roles, may mediate between syntactic knowledge and semantic interpretation.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Psychology (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2009 14:50
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2010 11:06
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0010-0277(03)00069-6
Status: Published
Publisher: Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam.
Identification Number: 10.1016/S0010-0277(03)00069-6
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5927

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