The Role of Grammatical Aspect in the Dynamics of Spatial Descriptions
- 1.5k Downloads
What role does grammatical aspect play in the time course of understanding spatial language, in particular motion events? Although processing differences between past progressive (was walking) and simple past (walked) aspect suggest differences in prominence of certain semantic properties, details about the temporal dynamics of aspect processing have been largely ignored. The current work uses mouse-tracking  to explore spatial differences in motor output response to contextual descriptions and aspectual forms. Participants heard descriptions of terrain (difficult or easy) and motion events described with either the past progressive or simple past aspectual form while placing a character into a scene to match this description. Overall, terrain descriptions modulated responses to past progressive more than to simple past in the region of the screen corresponding to the path. These results, which suggest that perceptual simulation plays a role in the interpretation of grammatical form, provide new insights into the understanding of spatial descriptions that include motion.
KeywordsSpatial language Motion verbs Event understanding Mouse-tracking embodied cognition
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 2.Comrie, B.: Aspect. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1976)Google Scholar
- 3.Frawley, W.: Linguistic Semantics. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale (1992)Google Scholar
- 4.Croft, W.: Aspectual and Causal Structure in Event Representations. In: Gathercole, V. (ed.) Routes to Language Development: In Honor of Melissa Bowerman, pp. 139–166. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah (2009)Google Scholar
- 5.Matlock, T., Fausey, C., Cargill, S., Spivey, M.: On the Path Toward Understanding the Dynamics of Aspect Descriptions in Motion Events. Paper presented at 48th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Long Beach, California (November 2007)Google Scholar
- 6.Madden, C.J., Zwann, R.A.: How Does Verb Aspect Constrain Event Representations? Memory & Cognition 31, 663–672 (2003)Google Scholar
- 12.Barsalou, L.W.: Continuing Themes in the Study of Human Knowledge: Associations, Imagery, Propositions, and Situations. In: Gluck, M.A., Anderson, J.R., Kosslyn, S.M. (eds.) Memory and Mind: A Festschrift for Gordon H. Bower, pp. 209–227. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, New Jersey (2007)Google Scholar
- 14.Dale, R., Kehoe, C., Spivey, M.: Graded Motor Responses in the Time Course of Categorizing Atypical Exemplars. Memory and Cognition 35, 15–28 (2007)Google Scholar
- 15.Anderson, S.E., Matlock, T., Fausey, C., Spivey, M.J.: On the Path to Understanding On-line Processing of Grammatical Aspect. In: Proceedings of the 30th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, pp. 143–148. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah (2008)Google Scholar
- 16.Matlock, T.: Fictive Motion as Cognitive Simulation. Memory & Cognition 32, 1389–1400 (2004)Google Scholar
- 18.Langacker, R.W.: Foundations of Cognitive Grammar: Theoretical Prerequisites. Stanford University Press, Stanford (1987)Google Scholar
- 19.Talmy, L.: Toward a Cognitive Semantics. MIT Press, Cambridge (2000)Google Scholar