A cognitive approach to the comprehension of intransitive constructions in L1 and L2 Japanese

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The present study investigates whether an agent is invoked by native Japanese speakers and native Cantonese-speaking learners of Japanese upon hearing sentences with “ordinary” intransitive verbs and what Pardeshi (2008) called “agent-implying intransitive verbs” by using an eye-tracking experiment. Participants were presented with a spoken sentence and a scene containing an object mentioned in the spoken sentence, a person, and two unrelated pictures. It was assumed that an agent was invoked in the intransitive conditions if the participants fixated on the person picture in the intransitive conditions as long as they would in the transitive conditions. Results showed that the native speakers tended to fixate on the person picture longer in the transitive and agent-implying transitive conditions than in the intransitive and agent-implying intransitive conditions respectively, but that the L2 learners showed opposite trends. These findings suggest that native Japanese speakers do not distinguish between ordinary intransitive verbs and agent-implying intransitive verbs, and they tend not to pay attention to an agent in either case. It is also speculated that the native Cantonese-speaking learners of Japanese failed to pay attention to verb morphology, and as such their performance deviated from that of the native speakers. Copyright © 2016 Walter de Gruyter Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCognitive-functional approaches to the study of Japanese as a second language
EditorsKaori KABATA , Kiyoko TORATANI
Place of PublicationBoston
PublisherDe Gruyter Mouton
Pages169-202
ISBN (Print)9781614517061, 9781614515029, 9781501500688, 1614517061
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Citation

Luk, Z. P.-s. (2016). A cognitive approach to the comprehension of intransitive constructions in L1 and L2 Japanese. In K. Kabata, & K. Toratani (Eds.), Cognitive-functional approaches to the study of Japanese as a second language (pp. 169-202). Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.

Keywords

  • Fixation
  • Li Cantonese
  • Idealized Cognitive Model
  • Visual-world paradigm
  • Causative events

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