ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

›› 2011, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (12): 1741-1748.

• 研究构想 • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The Functional Status of Syntactic Category Processing in Sentence Comprehension

ZHANG Ya-Xu;PIAO Qiu-Hong;YU Jing;YANG Yan-Ping   

  1. (1 Department of Psychology, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China)
    (2 Key Laboratory of Machine Perception (Peking University), Ministry of Education, Beijing 100871, China)
  • Received:2011-07-27 Revised:1900-01-01 Online:2011-12-15 Published:2011-12-15
  • Contact: ZHANG Ya-Xu

Abstract: Syntax-first theories assume that the processing of syntactic category (SC) is functionally prior to that of lexical semantics, verb argument structure, and discourse information. Previous event-related brain potential (ERP) studies in German and French have demonstrated that SC violations block both semantic and argument structure processing and thus SC has a functional primacy over the other two processes. It is still unknown whether there is also a functional primacy of SC over discourse processing, for any language. Although previous studies in Chinese revealed no functional primacy of SC over semantics, they didn’t thoroughly address the possible influence of experimental tasks on the findings. Further studies need to investigate the functional status of SC relative to a variety of non-syntactic information such as lexical semantics, verb argument structure, as well as discourse information, in languages that differ from German and French in terms of syntactic properties, such as Chinese and Korean. In addition, these studies should record ERPs in the violation paradigm in which non-syntactic factors and the correctness of SC are manipulated simultaneously, as done in previous studies.

Key words: syntax, semantics, verb argument structure, discourse context, Chinese