This paper explores the interaction between sentence level syntactic information and the semantic information that is carried with the verb during sentence comprehension. A cross-modal integration task was employed to examine whether the number of participant roles (thematic roles associated with the central meaning of the verb) causes an increase in processing load during integration of the verb into on-going sentence comprehension. The effect of preceding sentential structural information (varied with respect to the number of argument and/or adjunct NPs preceding the verb) was also manipulated. Independent of the structural information preceding the verb, verbs with two participant roles were integrated into the sentence faster than verbs with three participant roles. This finding suggests that participant roles are stored with the representation of the verb and made immediately available during integration and comprehension. In addition, the syntactic distinction between arguments and adjuncts is also shown to play an immediate role in parsing and integration of language on-line.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Linguistics and Language
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Language and Linguistics