Speakers Are Interconnected With Comprehenders: The Asymmetry of Argument Order by Long-before-short Preference in Korean

Yun-ju NamKonkuk University, Seoul, South Korea
Upyong HongKonkuk University, Seoul, South Korea
Hongoak YunKonkuk University, Seoul, South Korea

Abstract

We investigated how closely speakers’ production preferences were interconnected with comprehenders’ processing difficulty, using dative sentences in Korean, based on the behavioral data that we obtained from a production study and an eye-tracking reading study, respectively. In both studies, we tested the long-before-short preference such that long words/phrases were highly likely to be placed prior to short words/phrases (Yamashita & Chang, 2001). Both speakers and comprehenders preferred dative sentences of which target arguments (i.e., recipients and patients) were canonically ordered when the length of the arguments did not differ and when the length of recipients was longer than that of patients. However, when the length of patients was longer than that of recipients, the canonical order of arguments was not preferred. Our data indicated that speakers and comprehension observed the length constraint, although they eventually violated the canonicality constraint. The asymmetry of argument order modulated by long-before-short preference was further examined in the linear mixed-effect regression model to see the relationship between production and comprehension. The results revealed that comprehenders felt easier to process sentences as the degree of speakers’ structural preferences increased. Altogether, we present our results as evidence showing that speakers and comprehenders are closely interconnected each other, supporting the claim that the processes in production and comprehension are not dichotomy (Pickering & Garrod, 2013).

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