The Animacy Effect of Nouns and Its Cognitive Mechanism in Sentence Processing
2013, 21 (3):
Animacy effect is a common phenomenon in language comprehension, which mainly refers to that aniamcy nouns play an important role in syntactic and semantic processing, such as sentence choice, voice using, word order construction, argument and relative clauses processing. In the present paper, we mainly discussed three aspects of animacy effect of nouns. First, an extensive and systematic analysis about animacy effect from sentence production and comprehension was made. Second, different models of animacy effect were discussed, which included the specific representation of animacy nouns theory, the accessibility hierarchy of lexical concept theory, the syntactic salience of animacy nouns account and the experience-based language distribution theory. Finally, some reviews were made about the beings, mechanism of animacy effect, as well as the influence from culture and context on animacy effect, then some suggestions about the future direction of this issue were pointed out.
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