Volume 29, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0929-998X
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9765
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Two theoretical viewpoints provide different explanations about how people extract statistical regularities from input to assess the felicity of verb usage in a sentence. The lexical approach emphasizes the role of verb frequency in determining a verb’s distributional bias within a sentence, whereas the entrenchment hypothesis highlights the conjoined roles of the frequency information from both a verb and an argument structure construction. The present study tests these accounts by investigating Korean speakers’ interpretation of two dative patterns in Korean (Dative–Accusative and Accusative–Accusative). Through the analysis of a large-scale corpus, we calculated the frequency of each dative pattern as well as the frequency of dative verbs occurring therein. Using this information, we conducted an acceptability judgment task with Korean speakers by manipulating the dative type and the verb frequency. The results showed that the speakers’ acceptability rating behavior was affected by the interaction between the verb and construction frequency such that highly entrenched verb–construction combinations were evaluated to be more acceptable. Our finding supports the entrenchment hypothesis that emphasizes the conjoined roles of usage frequency of verbs and constructions in sentence comprehension.


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