Effects of Case-marking on the Anticipatory Processing of Korean Sentences

Volume 20
Issue 3
Miseon Lee
The goal of this study was to explore the effect of the case-marking information from pre-verbal arguments on the anticipatory processing of Korean sentences. More specifically, it was examined whether the case-markers can be used to predict an upcoming argument even before it is introduced into the string. In our eye-tracking experiment using the visual-world paradigm, 24 adult native speakers of Korean showed significantly more anticipatory eye-movements to the potential referent of a Theme object as soon as hearing the sequence of a nominative-marked NP and a dative-marked NP, as compared to when the second NP is accusative-marked. These results confirm the predictive mechanism of the parsing system and the case effect on the prediction in Korean: that is, guided by the case-marking information which is available earlier in the input, the parser can predict a forthcoming argument and thus activate a structural representation of the currently processed sentence. In this way, a verb-final sentence can be interpreted incrementally and predictively as well at each moment of processing.

Keywords: Anticipatory Processing, Case-marking, Dative Noun Phrases, Eye-tracking, Korean