Talk: Implicit Causality Bias in Turkish: a production study

Referential expressions function in discourse to denote an individual. To comprehend them, people rely on a number of grammatical and semantic/pragmatic factors (See Kehler et al. 2008 for an overview). One such semantically-driven factor was observed when Garvey and Caramazza (1974) examined sentences like (1), and noticed that pronoun interpretation depends on the verb type. Although "he" can either refer to Jim or Tim, individuals tend to resolve the pronoun to "Jim" in (1) and to "Tim" in (2).

(1) Jim frightened Tim because he...
(2) Jim liked Tim because he..

They, then, proposed that some verbs create a bias towards the stimulus of the event and coined the term implicit causality (IC). A verb like "frighten" marks the subject as the cause, whereas a verb such as "like" marks the object, creating the interpretation differences.

In this talk, I will discuss the results of a web-based sentence completion task investigating the IC bias in Turkish. The results indicated a strong IC bias towards stimulus. In establishing reference, pro-drop was a common strategy and many instances of null subjects were found. These instances were predicted as previous studies showed that reduced forms are frequently used in referring to given entities (Ariel,1990 and Givón, 1983 among many others).

Ariel, M. (1990). Accessing noun phrase antecedents. Routledge, London

Garvey, C. and Caramazza, A. (1974). Implicit Causality in Verbs.Source: Linguistic Inquiry, 5(3):459–464.

Givón, T. (1983). Topic continuity in discourse: An introduction. In T. Givón (Ed.), Topic continuity in discourse: A quantitative, cross-language study, pages 1–42. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.

Kehler, A., Kertz, L., Rohde, H., and Elman, J. L. (2008). Coherence and coreference revisited. Journal of semantics, 25(1):1–44.


Day: 2020-11-20
Start time: 19:15
Duration: 00:30
Room: Agathe Lasch
Track: Neuro- and Psycholinguistics
Language: en




Click here to let us know how you liked this event.

Concurrent Events