Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2213-8706
  • E-ISSN: 2213-8714
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Both traditional linguistics and psycholinguistics have extensively explored the issue of the category that separable words belong to, yet different opinions persist. Building upon previous research, this study selects verb-complement structures as its focal point. Based on the number of internally insertable elements, these structures are categorized into verb-complement compounds, verb-complement compact structures, verb-complement loose structures, and verb-complement phrases. The study compares the processing similarities and differences between the four types of structures with and without inter-component spacing so that the “disconnected” and “connected” states of the four structures are investigated. Experimental results indicate that regardless of the insertion of spaces, the reaction times for processing verb-complement compounds, compact structures, and loose structures are shorter than those for phrases. In the comparison of presence and absence of spaces, compounds and compact structures exhibit greater consistency, whereas no significant differences are observed between loose structures and phrases. This suggests that the processing of verb-complement compact structures closely resembles that of words, while the processing of loose structures embodies characteristics of both compounds and phrases, yet differs from both words and phrases. This study demonstrates that based on the degree of internal expansion, separable words can be further classified into subcategories, existing in a transitional state between words and phrases, forming a continuous continuum with compounds and phrases.


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