2017년 9월: 이은경 (서울대)
A Psycholinguistic Study of the Syntax-Semantics Interface
Since the more rigorous and systematic research was launched as to the relationship between syntax and semantics in the 1960’s (Gruber, 1965; Fillmore, 1968, inter alia), it has been acknowledged that syntactic properties of a lexical item are highly correlated with and much predicted by its semantic properties. This correspondence was most evidently attested by the relationship between verb meaning (designating an event and its participants) and sentence structure (consisting of a verb and its syntactic dependents). Importantly, it has long been regarded as a fact in language that linguists found; few addressed why it should be the way it is. In the present talk, I will introduce the findings and implications of my doctoral research (Yi, 2016), which investigated the cognitive underpinnings behind such correspondences by using psycholinguistic methods. I report on two separate but related studies. First, using syntactic priming experiments, I investigated the online and immediate influence of verb meaning on the structuring of a sentence. Second, I studied the long-term and frequency-driven effect of the syntax-semantics mapping on sentence structuring via statistical modeling on the data from natural corpora. These studies suggest that the correspondence between verb meaning and syntax is not an a priori regulation in language but is significantly rooted in human cognitive abilities.