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Bridging the gap between processing preferences and typological distributions: initial evidence from the online comprehension of control constructions in Hindi


Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, Ina; Choudhary, Kamal K; Witzlack-Makarevich, Alena; Bickel, Balthasar (2008). Bridging the gap between processing preferences and typological distributions: initial evidence from the online comprehension of control constructions in Hindi. In: Malchukov, Andrej; Richards, Marc. Scales. Leipzig: Institut für Linguistik der Universität Leipzig, 397-436.

Abstract

Previous empirical results have revealed an interesting correspondence between online language comprehension strategies and typological distributions, namely a preference for accusative {S,A} alignment over ergative {S,O} alignment. In the processing domain, this preference is reflected in the preferred analysis of an initial ambiguous argument. In the typological domain, it can be seen in the higher tendency for language change to proceed from an {S,O} to an {S,A} alignment rather than vice versa. A correlation between these two observations would clearly be of interest for theoretical models of alignment patterns. However, before the assumption of such a correspondence is warranted, two problems need to be solved: (a) the time sensitivity of online processing data vs. the time insensitivity of typological distributions; and (b) the domain of application of the {S,A} preference in processing (identification of roles) and typology (roles being treated in the same way by some syntactic phenomenon). The present study, in which we examined the {S,A} preference in the processing of control constructions in Hindi, provides initial evidence that both of these problems can be overcome. On the basis of these empirical findings, we formulate a hypothesis about the correspondence between processing and typology and outline how it can be tested in future research.

Abstract

Previous empirical results have revealed an interesting correspondence between online language comprehension strategies and typological distributions, namely a preference for accusative {S,A} alignment over ergative {S,O} alignment. In the processing domain, this preference is reflected in the preferred analysis of an initial ambiguous argument. In the typological domain, it can be seen in the higher tendency for language change to proceed from an {S,O} to an {S,A} alignment rather than vice versa. A correlation between these two observations would clearly be of interest for theoretical models of alignment patterns. However, before the assumption of such a correspondence is warranted, two problems need to be solved: (a) the time sensitivity of online processing data vs. the time insensitivity of typological distributions; and (b) the domain of application of the {S,A} preference in processing (identification of roles) and typology (roles being treated in the same way by some syntactic phenomenon). The present study, in which we examined the {S,A} preference in the processing of control constructions in Hindi, provides initial evidence that both of these problems can be overcome. On the basis of these empirical findings, we formulate a hypothesis about the correspondence between processing and typology and outline how it can be tested in future research.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Comparative Linguistics
Dewey Decimal Classification:490 Other languages
890 Other literatures
410 Linguistics
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:25 Apr 2013 08:07
Last Modified:30 May 2017 20:41
Publisher:Institut für Linguistik der Universität Leipzig
Series Name:Linguistische Arbeitsberichte
Number:86
ISSN:0138-4597
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:http://www.uni-leipzig.de/~asw/lab/lab86/LAB86_Bornkessel_et_al.pdf
Related URLs:http://www.uni-leipzig.de/~asw/?nav=institut/lab

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