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  Syntactic structures in motion: Investigating word order variations in verb-final (Korean) and verb-initial (Tongan) languages

Tamaoka, K., Yu, S., Zhang, J., Otsuka, Y., Lim, H., Koizumi, M., et al. (in press). Syntactic structures in motion: Investigating word order variations in verb-final (Korean) and verb-initial (Tongan) languages. Frontiers in Psychology. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1360191.

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 Creators:
Tamaoka, Katsuo1, 2, Author
Yu, Shaoyun3, Author
Zhang, Jingyi4, Author
Otsuka, Yuko5, Author
Lim, Hyunjung6, Author
Koizumi, Masatoshi7, Author
Verdonschot, Rinus G.8, Author           
Affiliations:
1Shanghai University, Shanghai, China, ou_persistent22              
2Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan, ou_persistent22              
3Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China, ou_persistent22              
4University of Miyazaki, Miyazaki, Japan , ou_persistent22              
5Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan, ou_persistent22              
6Yamaguchi Prefectural University, Yamaguchi, Japan, ou_persistent22              
7Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, ou_persistent22              
8Neurobiology of Language Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society, ou_792551              

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 Abstract: This study explored sentence processing in two typologically distinct languages: Korean, a verb-final language, and Tongan, a verb-initial language. The first experiment revealed that in Korean, sentences arranged in the scrambled OSV (Object, Subject, Verb) order were processed more slowly than those in the canonical SOV order, highlighting a scrambling effect. It also found that sentences with subject topicalization in the SOV order were processed as swiftly as those in the canonical form, whereas sentences with object topicalization in the OSV order were processed with speeds and accuracy comparable to scrambled sentences. However, since topicalization and scrambling in Korean use the same OSV order, independently distinguishing the effects of topicalization is challenging. In contrast, Tongan allows for a clear separation of word orders for topicalization and scrambling, facilitating an independent evaluation of topicalization effects. The second experiment, employing a maze task, confirmed that Tongan’s canonical VSO order was processed more efficiently than the VOS scrambled order, thereby verifying a scrambling effect. The third experiment investigated the effects of both scrambling and topicalization in Tongan, finding that the canonical VSO order was processed most efficiently in terms of speed and accuracy, unlike the VOS scrambled and SVO topicalized orders. Notably, the OVS object-topicalized order was processed as efficiently as the VSO canonical order, while the SVO subject-topicalized order was slower than VSO but faster than VOS. By independently assessing the effects of topicalization apart from scrambling, this study demonstrates that both subject and object topicalization in Tongan facilitate sentence processing, contradicting the predictions based on movement-based anticipation.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2024-03-25
 Publication Status: Accepted / In Press
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1360191
 Degree: -

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Title: Frontiers in Psychology
  Abbreviation : Front Psychol
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Pully, Switzerland : Frontiers Research Foundation
Pages: - Volume / Issue: - Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1664-1078
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1664-1078