The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Ling-Lunch 9/20 - Masatoshi Koizumi

Ling-Lunch returns this week at its usual time and place with a talk by Masatoshi Koizumi.

Speaker: Masatoshi Koizumi (Tohoku University)
Title: On the Subject-Object Word Order Preference in Sentence Comprehension (and Production)
Date/Time: Thursday, 9/20, 12:30-1:45p
Room: 32-D461

The processing load of sentences with three different word orders (i.e., VOS, VSO, and SVO) in Kaqchikel Maya was investigated using a sentence plausibility judgment task. VOS sentences were processed faster than VSO and SVO sentences. This confirmed the traditional analysis in Mayan linguistics that the syntactically determined basic word order is VOS in Kaqchikel, as in many other Mayan languages. More importantly, the result revealed that the preference for subject-object word order in sentence comprehension previously observed in other languages is not universal; rather, processing load in sentence comprehension is greatly affected by the syntactic nature of individual languages.