Regularization of word order in the verb phrase differs from the noun phrase: Evidence from an online silent gesture perception paradigm

Monica Do, Simon Kirby, Susan Goldin-Meadow

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Prior work has shown a “natural” preference in the Verb Phrase for direct object Nouns to linearly precede the Verb. There is also evidence of a “natural” preference in the Noun Phrase to order Nouns before Adjectives. Given this, we asked how domain-general biases like regularization and language-specific biases like the preference for “natural” orders could jointly contribute to the emergence of these two common word orders cross-linguistically. Using a silent gesture paradigm (in which we presented iconic gestures without speech), we exposed different participants to competing Verb Phrase (NounVerb vs. VerbNoun) and Noun Phrase (NounAdj vs. AdjNoun) word orders at varying frequencies. In Noun Phrase contrast conditions, we found that regularization was greatest when the domain-general bias towards regularization and the linguistic bias to order Nouns before Adjectives were aligned. In Verb Phrase conditions, participants regularized to the same extent regardless of input: They opted for greater regularity, even at the expense of aligning with underlying word order biases. We discuss the implications of our work for understanding the effects of domain-general biases on language.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 44th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
EditorsJennifer Culbertson, Andrew Perfors, Hugh Rabagliati, Veronica Ramenzoni
PublishereScholarship University of California
Pages1211-1217
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Jun 2022
Event44th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 27 Jul 202230 Jul 2022
Conference number: 44
https://cognitivesciencesociety.org/cogsci-2022/

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
PublisherCognitive Science Society
Volume44
ISSN (Electronic)1069-7977

Conference

Conference44th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
Abbreviated titleCogSci 2022
Country/TerritoryCanada
CityToronto
Period27/07/2230/07/22
Internet address

Keywords

  • regularization
  • frequency
  • learning biases
  • gestures
  • word order
  • adjective order

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