Volume 47, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1810-7478
  • E-ISSN: 2589-5230



Intransitives can be classified into two subclasses: unaccusative verbs and unergative verbs. According to the Unaccusative Hypothesis, the difference between unaccusatives and unergatives lies in where the single argument is generated in the underlying syntactic structure. Subjects of unaccusative verbs are base-generated in the object position and moved to the subject positions. Subjects of unergative verbs, however, are external and thus are not resulted from arguments moving from the object position. If the Unaccusative Hypothesis is correct, a trace is left at the original place for unaccusative verbs when movement occurs but no trace for unergative verbs. Friedmann et al. (2008) used the cross-modal lexical priming paradigm to examine the Unaccusative Hypothesis but their results could only lend limited support for the Unaccusative Hypothesis. Since the argument of Mandarin unaccusative verbs can occur preverbally and postverbally, it offers us a balanced testing ground to re-examine reactivation during sentence comprehension. Results of the current study lend support for the Unaccusative Hypothesis. When the argument occurred preverbally, a V-shaped line was observed. An inverted V-shaped line was observed when the argument occurred postverbally. For unergative verbs, the line showed a decay of reactivation.

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