Advertisement

Understanding Coordinate Clauses: A Cross-Linguistic Experimental Approach

  • Bergljot BehrensEmail author
  • Barbara Mertins
  • Barbara Hemforth
  • Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen
Chapter
  • 594 Downloads
Part of the Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics book series (SITP, volume 44)

Abstract

The present article provides evidence suggesting that general pragmatic accounts of orderliness in the temporal interpretation of VP coordination may be somewhat biased by the choice of typically script-based (con)sequential examples. Most of the discussion in the literature has been based on examples from a single language, mostly relying on the intuitions of the author(s) of the paper. On the basis of a cross-linguistic, empirical approach to language understanding, we have tested different language speakers’ preferred interpretation of the temporal relation holding in contextualized VP conjunctive sentences that are pragmatically not typically consequential or resultative. Under these conditions, our results show a preference for temporal overlap interpretations across languages. We also find that language-specific properties modify this general bias, thus supporting a competition-based account of relating form to meaning.

Keywords

VP Coordination Competition Temporal interpretation Norwegian English Czech German 

References

  1. Anderson, J. (1980). Concepts, propositions and schemata: What are the cognitive units? Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, 29, 121–162.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, S., Matlock, T., Fausey, C. M., & Spivey, M. J. (2008). On the path to understanding the on-line processing of grammatical aspect. In V. Sloutsky, B. Love, & K. McRae (Eds.), Proceedings of the 30th annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2253–2258). Austin: Cognitive Science Society.Google Scholar
  3. Bates, E., Devescori, A., & d’Amico, S. (1999). Processing complex sentences: A cross-linguistic study. Language and Cognitive Processes, 14(1), 69–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Behrens, B., Fabricius-Hansen, C., & Solfjeld, K. (2012). Competing structures: The discourse perspective. In C. Fabricius-Hansen & D. Haug (Eds.), Big events, small clauses: The grammar of elaboration (pp. 179–225). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  5. Behrens, B., Fabricius-Hansen, C., & Frazier, L. (2014). Pairing form and meaning in English and Norwegian: Conjoined VPs or conjoined clauses? In B. Hemforth, B. Schmiedtová, & C. Fabricius-Hansen (Eds.), Psycholinguistic approaches to meaning and understanding across languages (Studies in theoretical psycholinguistics, pp. 53–81). Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  6. Blutner, R., & Zeevat, H. (Eds.). (2003). Optimality theory and pragmatics. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  7. Bohnemeyer, J., & Swift, M. (2004). Event realization and default aspect. Linguistics and Philosophy, 27(3), 263–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bott, O. (2008). Doing it again and again may be difficult—But it depends on what you are doing. In N. Abner & J. Bishop (Eds.), Proceedings of the 27th West Coast conference on formal linguistics (pp. 63–71). Somerville: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.Google Scholar
  9. Bott, O., & Hamm, F. (2014). Cross-linguistic variation in the processing of aspect. In B. Hemforth, B. Schmiedtová, & C. Fabricius-Hansen (Eds.), Psycholinguistic approaches to meaning and understanding across languages (Studies in theoretical psycholinguistics, pp. 83–109). Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  10. Bresnan, J., & Aissen, J. (2002). Optimality and functionality: Objections and refutations. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, 20(1), 81–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brewer, W. (1999). Schemata. In R. A. Wilson & F. C. Keil (Eds.), The MIT encyclopaedia of cognitive sciences (pp. 729–730). Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  12. Caenepeel, M., & Sandstrøm, G. (1992). A discourse level approach to the past perfect in narrative. In M. Aurnague, A. Borillo, M. Borillo, & M. Bras (Eds.), Proceedings of the 4th European workshop on semantics of time, space and movement (pp. 167–182). Toulouse: Université Paul Sabatier.Google Scholar
  13. Carston, R. (2002). Thought and utterances: The pragmatics of explicit communication. Oxford: Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Clark, H. H. (1974). Semantics and comprehension. In A. S. Abramson et al. (Eds.), Linguistics and adjacent arts and sciences 2 (pp. 1291–1428). The Hague: Mouton de Grutyer.Google Scholar
  15. Coll-Florit, M., & Gennari, S. P. (2011). Time in language: Event duration in language comprehension. Cognitive Psychology, 62(1), 41–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cvrček, V., et al. (2010). Mluvnice současné češtiny. Praha: Karolinum.Google Scholar
  17. Elman, J., Hare, M., & McRae, K. (2004). Cues, constraints, and competition in sentence processing. In M. Tomasello & D. Slobin (Eds.), Beyond nature-nurture: Essays in honor of Elizabeth Bates (pp. 111–138). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  18. Fabricius-Hansen, C. (2005). Elusive connectives: A case study on the explicitness dimension of discourse coherence. Linguistics, 43, 17–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fabricius-Hansen, C., & Ramm, W. (2008). Editors’ introduction: Subordination and coordination from different perspectives. In C. Fabricius-Hansen & W. Ramm (Eds.), ‘Subordination’ versus ‘coordination’ in sentence and text: A cross-linguistic perspective (pp. 1–30). Amsterdam: Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Frey, W., & Pittner, K. (1999). Adverbialpositionen im deutsch-englischen Vergleich. In M. Doherty (Ed.), Sprachspezifische Aspekte der Informationsverteilung (pp. 14–40). Berlin: Akademie-Verlag.Google Scholar
  21. Gennari, S. P. (2004). Temporal references and temporal relations in sentence comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 30(4), 877–890.Google Scholar
  22. Grice, H. P. (1975). Logic and conversation. In A. P. Martinich (Ed.), Philosophy of language (pp. 165–175). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Haider, H. (2010). The syntax of German. Cambridge: University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Klein, W. (1994). Time in language. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  25. Labov, W. (1972). Language in the inner city. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  26. MacWhinney, B., & Bates, E. (Eds.). (1989). The cross-linguistic study of sentence processing. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Moens, M. (1987). Tense aspect and temporal reference. PhD dissertation, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  28. Moens, M., & Steedman, M. (1988). Temporal ontology and temporal reference. Computational Linguistics, 14(2), 15–28.Google Scholar
  29. Newmeyer, F. J. (1992). Iconicity and generative grammar. Language, 68, 756–796.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sæbø, K. J. (2004). Optimal interpretations of permission sentences. In R. Asatiani et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 5th Tbilisi symposium on language, logic and computation (pp. 137–144). Tbilisi: CLLS Tbilisi State University.Google Scholar
  31. Schmiedtová, B. (2004). At the same time: The expression of simultaneity in learner varieties. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Schmiedtová, B., von Stutterheim, C., & Carroll, M. (2011). Implications of language-specific patterns in event construal of advanced L2 speakers. In A. Pavlenko (Ed.), Thinking and speaking in two languages (pp. 66–107). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  33. Sternefeld, W. (2008). Syntax: Eine morphologisch motivierte generative Beschreibung des Deutschen. Tübingen: Stauffenburg.Google Scholar
  34. Talmy, L. (2000). Toward a cognitive semantics. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  35. von Stutterheim, C., & Klein, W. (1987). 1987 Quaestio und referentielle Bewegung in Erzählungen.Linguistische Berichte, 109, 163–183.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bergljot Behrens
    • 1
    Email author
  • Barbara Mertins
    • 2
  • Barbara Hemforth
    • 3
  • Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Literature, Area Studies and European LanguagesUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Institut für Deutsch als FremdsprachenphilologieUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  3. 3.Laboratoire de Linguistique FormelleCNRS, Université Paris DiderotParisFrance

Personalised recommendations