Advertisement

Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 281–306 | Cite as

Aspectual Coercion in Eye Movements

  • David J. Townsend
Article

Abstract

Comprehension includes interpreting sentences in terms of aspectual categories such as processes (Harry climbed) and culminations (Harry reached the top). Adding a verbal modifier such as for many years to a culmination coerces its interpretation from one to many culminations. Previous studies have found that coercion increases lexical decision and meaning judgment time, but not eye fixation time. This study recorded eye movements as participants read sentences in which a coercive adverb increased the interpretation of multiple events. Adverbs appeared at the end of a clause and line; the post-adverb region appeared at the beginning of the next line; follow-up questions occasionally asked about aspectual meaning; and clause type varied systematically. Coercive adverbs increased eye fixation time in the post-adverb region and in the adverb and post-adverb regions combined. Factors that influence the appearance of aspectual coercion may include world knowledge, follow-up questions, and the location and ambiguity of adverbs.

Keywords

Time course of integration Semantic processing Aspectual coercion Sentence comprehension Syntax semantics correspondence 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Amato, M., Willits, J., & MacDonald, M. (2009). Verb aspect and argument activation: Generalization from item-specific constraints? Proceedings of the CUNY human sentence processing conference, Davis.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson A., Garrod S. C., Sanford A. J. (1983) The accessibility of pronominal antecedents as a function of episode shifts in narrative text. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 35A: 427–440Google Scholar
  3. Bever T. G., Townsend D. J. (1979) Perceptual mechanisms and formal properties of main and subordinate clauses. In: Walker E., Cooper W. (Eds.) Sentence processing: Psycholinguistic studies presented to Merrill Garrett. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, pp 159–226Google Scholar
  4. Binnick R. I. (1991) Time and the verb: A guide to tense and aspect. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Bott O. (2008) Doing it again and again may be difficult, but it depends on what you are doing. In: Abner N., Bishop J. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 27th west coast conference on formal linguistics. Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, pp 63–71Google Scholar
  6. Bott O. (2010) The processing of events. John Benjamins Publishing Company, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  7. Brennan J., Pylkkanen L. (2008) Processing events: Behavioral and neuromagnetic correlates of aspectual coercion. Brain & Language 106: 132–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carlson G. N. (1977) A unified analysis of the English bare plural. Linguistics and Philosophy 1: 413–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carreiras M., Carriedo N., Alonso M. A., Fernandez A. (1997) The role of verb tense and verb aspect in the foregrounding of information during reading. Memory & Cognition 25: 438–446CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Coll-Florit, M., & Gennari, S. (2009). Time in language: Event duration in language comprehension. Proceedings of the CUNY human sentence processing conference, Davis.Google Scholar
  11. de Swart H. (1998) Aspect shift and coercion. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 16: 347–385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dowty D. R. (1979) Word meaning and Montague grammar. Reidel, DordrechtCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ferreira F., Clifton C. (1986) The independence of syntactic processing. Journal of Memory and Language 25: 348–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ferretti T. R., Kutas M., McRae K. (2007) Verb aspect and the activation of event knowledge. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 33: 182–196PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Frazier L., Pacht J. M., Rayner K. (1999) Taking on semantic commitments, II: Collective vs. distributive readings. Cognition 70: 87–104PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Frisson S., McElree B. (2008) Complement coercion is not ambiguity resolution: Evidence from eye movement. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 31: 1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gennari S., Poeppel D. (2003) Processing correlates of lexical semantic complexity. Cognition 89: B27–B41PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Green D. W., Mitchell D. C., Hammond E. J. (1981) The scheduling of text integration processes in reading. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology A: Human Experimental Psychology 33: 455–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hitzeman J. (1997) Semantic partition and the ambiguity of sentences containing temporal adverbials. Natural Language Semantics 5: 87–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Husband, E. M., Stockall, L., & Beretta, A. (2008). VP-internal event composition. Michigan State University. World wide web: http://eyelab.msu.edu/people/matt/vp-internal_final_submitted.pdf (August 2, 2010) (Unpublished manuscript).
  21. Jackendoff R. (1990) Semantic structures. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  22. Jackendoff R. (1991) Parts and boundaries. Cognition 41: 9–45PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jackendoff R. (1996) The proper treatment of measuring out, telicity, and perhaps even quantification in English. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 14: 305–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jackendoff R. (1997) The architecture of the language faculty. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  25. Jandreau S., Bever T. (1992) Phrase-spaced formats improve comprehension in average readers. Journal of Applied Psychology 77: 143–146PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Just M. A., Carpenter P. A. (1980) A theory of reading: From eye fixations to comprehension. Psychological Review 87: 329–354PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kennedy A., Murray W. W. (1987) The components of reading time: Eye movement patterns of good and poor readers. In: O’Regan J. K., Levy-Schoen A. (Eds.) Eye movements: From physiology to cognition. Elsevier Science, New York, pp 509–520Google Scholar
  28. Klein W. (1994) Time in language. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  29. Le Vasseur V. M., Macaruso P., Palumbo L. C., Shankweiler D. (2006) Syntactically cued text facilitates oral reading fluency in developing readers. Applied Psycholinguistics 27: 423–445Google Scholar
  30. Liversedge S. P., Paterson K. B., Pickering M. J. (1998) Eye movements and measures of reading time. In: Underwood G. (Ed.) Eye guidance in reading and scene perception. Elsevier Science Ltd, Amsterdam, pp 55–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Madden C. J., Zwaan R. A. (2003) How does verb aspect constrain event representations?. Memory & Cognition 31: 663–672CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Magliano J. P., Schleich M. C. (2000) Verb aspect and situation models. Discourse Processes 29: 83–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. MacDonald M. C., Pearlmutter N. J., Seidenberg M. S. (1994) The lexical nature of syntactic ambiguity resolution. Psychological Review 101: 676–703PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McElree B., Frisson S., Pickering M. J. (2006) Deferred interpretations: Why starting Dickens is taxing but reading Dickens isn’t. Cognitive Science 30: 181–192PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. McKoon G., Macfarland T. (2002) Event templates in the lexical representations of verbs. Cognitive Psychology 45: 1–44PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mitchell D. C., Green D. W. (1978) The effects of context and content on immediate processing in reading. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 30: 609–636CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Moens M., Steedman M. (1988) Temporal ontology and temporal reference. Computational Linguistics 14: 15–28Google Scholar
  38. Mourelatos A. (1981) Events, processes, and states. Linguistics and Philosophy 2: 415–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. O’Bryan, E., Jones, B. C., & Barker, J. (2005). The effect of telicity on eye movements during reading. The eighteenth annual CUNY conference on human sentence processing, Tucson, AZ.Google Scholar
  40. Pickering M. J., McElree B., Frisson S., Chen L., Traxler M. J. (2006) Underspecification and aspectual coercion. Discourse Processes 42: 131–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pinango M. M., Zurif E., Jackendoff R. (1999) Real-time processing implications of enriched composition at the syntax-semantics interface. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 28: 395–414PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pinango M. M., Winnick A., Ullah R., Zurif E. (2006) Time-course of semantic composition: The case of aspectual coercion. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 35: 233–244PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Proctor, A. S., Dickey, M. W., & Rips, L. (2004). The time-course and cost of telicity inferences. Proceedings of the 26th annual meeting of the cognitive science society, Chicago.Google Scholar
  44. Pulman S. (1997) Aspectual shift as type coercion. Transactions of the Philological Society 95: 279–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pustejovsky J. (1995) The generative lexicon. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  46. Pylkkanen L., McElree B. (2006) The syntax-semantics interface: On-line composition of sentence meaning. In: Traxler M. J., Gernsbacher M. A. (Eds.) Handbook of psycholinguistics 2nd ed. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 539–579CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rayner K. (1998) Eye movements in reading and information processing: 20 years of research. Psychological Bulletin 124: 372–422PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rayner K., Sereno S. C., Morris R. K., Schmauder A. R., Clifton C. (1989) Eye movements and on-line comprehension processes. Language and Cognitive Processes 4: S121–S149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rayner K., Kambe G., Duffy S. A. (2000) The effect of clause wrap-up on eye movements during reading. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 53: 1061–1080PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Reichenbach H. (1947) Elements of symbolic logic. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  51. Rummer R., Engelkamp J., Konieczny L. (2003) The subordination effect: Evidence from self-paced reading and recall. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology 15: 539–566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sanford A. J. (2002) Context, attention and depth of processing during interpretation. Mind & Language 17: 188–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Srinivasan M., Carey S. (2010) The long and the short of it: On the nature and origin of functional overlap between representations of space and time. Cognition 116: 217–241PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Swets G., Desmet T., Clifton C., Ferreira F. (2008) Underspecification of syntactic ambiguities: Evidence from self-paced reading. Memory & Cognition 36: 201–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Therriault D. J., Raney G. E. (2007) Processing and representing temporal information in narrative text. Discourse Processes 43: 173–200Google Scholar
  56. Todorova M., Straub K., Badecker W., Frank R. (2000) Aspectual coercion and the online computation of sentential aspect. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society 22: 523–528Google Scholar
  57. Townsend D. J., Bever T. G. (1978) Inter-clause relations and clausal processing. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 17: 509–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Townsend D. J., Bever T. G. (1988) Knowledge representations during reading depend on reading strategy and reading skill. In: Gruneberg M., Sykes D., Morris P. (Eds.) Practical aspects of memory: Current research and issues. Clinical and educational implications Vol. 2. Wiley, New York, pp 309–314Google Scholar
  59. Townsend D. J., Bever T. G. (1991) The use of higher-level constraints in monitoring for a change in speaker demonstrates functionally-distinct levels of representation during discourse comprehension. Language and Cognitive Processes 6: 49–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Townsend D. J., Seegmiller M. S. (2004) The linguistic representation and processing of event structure. Journal of Cognitive Science 5: 157–244Google Scholar
  61. Townsend D. J., Hoover M. K., Bever T. G. (2000) Levels of representation during sentence comprehension interact with monitoring tasks. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 29: 265–274PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Traxler M. J., Pickering M. J., McElree B. (2002) Coercion in sentence processing: Evidence from eye-movements and self-paced reading. Journal of Memory and Language 47: 530–547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Traxler M. J., McElree B., Williams R. S., Pickering M. J. (2005) Context effects in coercion: Evidence from eye movements. Journal of Memory and Language 53: 1–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Trueswell J. C., Tanenhaus M. K., Garnsey S. M. (1994) Semantic influences on parsing: Use of thematic role information in syntactic ambiguity resolution. Journal of Memory and Language 33: 285–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Vendler, Z. (1957). Verbs and times. Philosophical Review, 66, 143–160. Reprinted in Vendler, Z. (1967). Linguistics in philosophy. (pp. 97–121). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  66. Verkuyl H. J. (1989) Aspectual classes and aspectual composition. Linguistics and Philosophy 12: 39–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Zwaan R. A., Radvansky G. A. (1998) Situation models in language comprehension and memory. Psychological Bulletin 123: 162–185PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMontclair State UniversityUpper MontclairUSA

Personalised recommendations