Share This Article:

Effects of Word Order Alternation on the Sentence Processing of Sinhalese Written and Spoken Forms

Abstract Full-Text HTML Download Download as PDF (Size:228KB) PP. 24-32
DOI: 10.4236/ojml.2011.12004    4,010 Downloads   7,641 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

In both written and spoken forms, the Sinhalese language allows all six possible word orders for active sentences with transitive verbs (i.e., SOV, OSV, SVO, OVS, VSO, and VOS), even though its unmarked order is subject-object-verb (SOV) (e.g., Gair, 1998; Miyagishi, 2003; Yamamoto, 2003). Reaction times for sentence correctness decisions showed SOV < SVO = OVS = OSV = VSO = VOS for the written form, and SOV < SVO = OVS < OSV = VSO = VOS for the spoken form. The different degrees of reaction times may correspond to the three different types of word order alternation. First, the fastest reaction time for SOV word order corresponds to the canonical order SOV without any structural change, represented as [ TP S [ VP O V] ] for both the written and spoken forms. Second, word order alternation at the same structural level is involved in both SVO and OVS, [ TP S [ VP t1 V O1] ] for SVO and [ TP t1 [ VP O V ] S1 ] for OVS, resulting in a slower reaction speed than SOV. Third, and again for only the spoken form, word order alternation takes place at a different structural level, [ TP’ O1 [ TP S [ VP t1 V ] ] ] for OSV, [ TP’ V1 [ TP S [ VP O t1] ] ] for VSO, and double word order alternations take place within the same level as [ TP t1 [ VP t2 V O2 ] S1] for VOS. These word order alternations for OSV, VSO and VOS require an extra cognitive load for sentence processing, even heavier than for a single word order alternation of SVO and OVS taking place at the same structural level. The present study thus provided evidence that the speed of sentence processing can be predicted from the cognitive load involved in word order alternation in a configurational phrase structure.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Tamaoka, K. , Kanduboda, P. & Sakai, H. (2011). Effects of Word Order Alternation on the Sentence Processing of Sinhalese Written and Spoken Forms. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 1, 24-32. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2011.12004.

References

[1] Chandralal, D. (2010). Sinhala. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
[2] Englebretson, R., & Genetti, C. (Eds.) (2005). Santa Barbara papers in linguistics: Proceeding from the workshop on Sinhala linguistics. Department of Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
[3] Farmer, A. K. (1984). Modularity in syntax: A study of Japanese and English. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
[4] Gair, W. J. (1998). Syntax: Configuration, order, and grammatical function. In L. C. Barbara (Ed.), Studies in South Asian Linguistics; Sinhala and Other South Asian Languages (pp. 47-110). New York: Oxford University Press.
[5] Hale, K. (1980). Remarks on Japanese phrase structure: Comments on the papers on Japanese syntax. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics, 2, 185-203.
[6] Hale, K. (1982). Preliminary remarks on configurationality. North East Linguistic Society, 12, 86-96.
[7] Hale, K. (1983). Warlpiri and the grammar of non-configurational language. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, 1, 5-47. doi:10.1007/BF00210374
[8] Hawkins, J. A. (1999). Processing complexity and filler-gap dependencies across grammars. Language, 75, 244-285. doi:10.2307/417261
[9] Kanduboda, A. B. P., & Tamaoka, K. (2009). Priority information in determining canonical word order of colloquial Sinhalese sentences. Proceedings of the 139th conference of the linguistic society of Japan, 1, 32-37.
[10] Kanduboda, A. B. P., & Tamaoka, K. (2010). Priority information for canonical word order of written Sinhala sentences. Proceedings of the 140th conference of the linguistic society of Japan, 358-363.
[11] Miyagishi, T. (1998). Shinharago T? kaku meishi no imiteki tokuchoo (Semantic characteristic of nouns marked with the suffix “T?” in Sinhala). Yasuda Joshi Daigaku Kiyoo (Yasuda Women’s University Bulletin), 27, 57-74.
[12] Miyagishi, T. (2003). Shinharago no dakkaku/gukaku meishi to dooshi no musubitsuki (Relationship between ablative/instrumental case nouns). Yasuda Joshi Daigaku Kiyoo (Yasuda Women’s University Bulletin), 31, 1-26.
[13] Miyagishi, T. (2005). Shinharago ni okeru jyuuzokusetsu no taikaku shugo (Accusative subject of subordinate clause in Sinhalese). Yasuda Joshi Daigaku Kiyoo (Yasuda Women’s University Bulletin), 33, 15-26.
[14] Miyamoto, E. T., & Nakamura, M. (2005). Unscrambling some misconceptions: A comment on Koizumi and Tamaoka (2004). Gengo kenkyu (Journal of the Linguistic Society of Japan), 128, 113-129.
[15] Nakayama, M. (1995). Scrambling and probe recognition. In R. Mazuka and N. Nagai (Eds.), Japanese Sentence Processing (pp. 257-273). Hillsdale, NJ: Laurence Erlbaum.
[16] Noguchi, T. (1984). Shinhara-go nyuumon (Introductory to the Sinhalese language). Tokyo: Daigaku Shorin.
[17] O’Grady, W. D. (1997). Syntactic development. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
[18] Tamaoka, K., & Koizumi, M. (2006). Issues on the scrambling effects in the processing of Japanese sentences: Reply to Miyamoto and Nakamura (2005). regarding the experimental study by Koizumi & Tamaoka (2004). Gengo Kenkyu (Journal of the Linguistic Society of Japan), 129, 181-226.
[19] Tamaoka, K., Sakai, H., Kawahara, J., & Miyaoka, Y. (2003). The effects of phrase-length order and scrambling in the processing of visually-presented Japanese sentences. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 32, 431-454. doi:10.1023/A:1024851729985
[20] Tamaoka, K., Sakai, H., Kawahara, J., Miyaoka, Y., Lim, H., & Koizumi, M. (2005). Priority information used for the processing of Japanese sentences: Thematic roles, case particles or grammatical functions. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 34, 273-324. doi:10.1007/s10936-005-3641-6
[21] Tamaoka, K., Asano, M., Miyaoka, Y., & Yokosawa, K. (2009). Pre- and post-head phrasal parsing of canonical and scrambled Japanese active sentences measured by the eye-tracking method. Proceedings of the 138th meeting of the Linguistic Society of Japan, 270-275.
[22] Yamamoto, H. (2003). Sekai shogengo no chiriteki keitooteki gojyun bunrui to sono hensen (An area distribution of word order among world languages and their changes). Hiroshima: Keisuisha.
[23] Yamashita, H. (1997). The effects of word-order and case marking information on the processing of Japanese. Journal of psycholinguistic research, 26, 163-188. doi:10.1023/A:1025009615473

  
comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2019 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.