Reading time evidence for enriched composition

B McElree, M J Traxler, M J Pickering, R E Seely, R Jackendoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Verbs like 'begin' and 'enjoy' appear to semantically select a complement that expresses an activity or an event (Jackendoff, R. (1997). The architecture of the language faculty. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; Pustejovsky, J. Cognition 41 (1991) 47; Pustejovsky, J. (1995). The generative lexicon. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press). When these verbs occur with a complement that does not directly denote either an activity or an event (e.g. '... began the book' or '... enjoyed the book'), the complement must be type-shifted from an object to an activity to conform to the verb's semantic restrictions. We report an experiment in which self-paced reading times were found to be longer for complements that required type-shifting than for complements that directly matched the semantic restrictions of the matrix verb. This finding is argued to provide on-line evidence for a type of enriched lexical processing posited in recent lexical semantic research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)B17-B25
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2001

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Reading
  • Semantics


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