It Takes Two to Kiss, but Does it Take Three to Give a Kiss? Categorization Based on Thematic Roles

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It Takes Two to Kiss, but Does it Take Three to Give a Kiss? Categorization Based on Thematic Roles

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Title: It Takes Two to Kiss, but Does it Take Three to Give a Kiss? Categorization Based on Thematic Roles
Author: Wittenberg, Eva; Snedeker, Jesse

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Wittenberg, Eva, and Jesse Snedeker. 2013. It takes two to kiss, but does it take three to give a kiss? Categorization based on thematic roles. Language and Cognitive Processes: 1-7.
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Research Data: http://hdl.handle.net/1902.1/19337
Abstract: Language is characterised by broad and predictable mappings between meaning and syntactic form. Transitive sentences typically encode two-participant events while ditransitives typically encode three-participant events. Light-verb constructions, however, systematically violate these mappings; for example, some have ditransitive syntax (‘Romeo is giving Juliet a kiss’) but describe what appear to be agent–patient events (Romeo kissing Juliet). We used a conceptual sorting task to explore whether this non-canonical mapping influenced the interpretation of these sentences. Participants were trained to sort events by the number of thematic roles they encoded. After a training phase with only pictures, they sorted a mix of pictures and written sentences, including transitive agent–patient sentences, ditransitive source–theme–goal sentences and ditransitive light-verb constructions. Events described by light-verb constructions were most often grouped with agent–patient events but were sometimes grouped with source–theme–goal events. A control condition using the transitive/intransitive alternation for joint action verbs (e.g., ‘meet’) demonstrates that this is not attributable to misconstruing the task as syntactic sorting. We conclude that non-canonical mappings between meaning and form can affect event construal, but syntactic form does not solely determine the construal that is chosen.
Published Version: doi:10.1080/01690965.2013.831918
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Open Access Policy Articles, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#OAP
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11315417
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