Volume 19, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1877-9751
  • E-ISSN: 1877-976X
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This study investigates how speakers of English and Korean, two typologically distinct languages, derive information from a verb and a construction to achieve sentence comprehension. In a sentence-sorting task, we manipulated verb semantics (real versus nonce) in each language. The results showed that participants from both languages were less inclined to sort sentences by a verb cue when the lexical-semantic information about a verb was obscured (i.e., nonce verb). In addition, the Korean-speaking participants were less likely affected by the verb semantics conditions than the English-speaking participants. These findings suggest the role of an argument structure construction in sentence comprehension as a co-contributor of sentence meaning, supporting the constructionist approach. The findings also imply language-specific mechanisms of sentence comprehension, contingent upon the varied impact of a verb on sentence meaning in English and Korean.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Ahrens, K. V.
    (1995) The mental representation of verbs. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California at San Diego.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Allen, K., Pereira, F., Botvinick, M., & Goldberg, A. E.
    (2012) Distinguishing grammatical constructions with fMRI pattern analysis. Brain and Language, 123, 174–182. doi:  10.1016/j.bandl.2012.08.005
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2012.08.005 [Google Scholar]
  3. Altmann, G. T.
    (1999) Thematic role assignment in context. Journal of Memory and Language, 41, 124–145. doi:  10.1006/jmla.1999.2640
    https://doi.org/10.1006/jmla.1999.2640 [Google Scholar]
  4. Altmann, G. T., & Kamide, Y.
    (1999) Incremental interpretation at verbs: Restricting the domain of subsequent reference. Cognition, 73, 247–264. doi:  10.1016/S0010‑0277(99)00059‑1
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0010-0277(99)00059-1 [Google Scholar]
  5. (2007) The real-time mediation of visual attention by language and world knowledge: Linking anticipatory (and other) eye movements to linguistic processing. Journal of Memory and Language, 57, 502–518. doi:  10.1016/j.jml.2006.12.004
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2006.12.004 [Google Scholar]
  6. Ambridge, B., Pine, J. M., Rowland, C. F., & Young, C. R.
    (2008) The effect of verb semantic class and verb frequency (entrenchment) on children’s and adults’ graded judgments of argument-structure overgeneralization errors. Cognition, 106, 87–129. doi:  10.1016/j.cognition.2006.12.015
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2006.12.015 [Google Scholar]
  7. Baayen, R. H.
    (2008) Analyzing linguistic data. A practical introduction to statistics using R. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511801686
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511801686 [Google Scholar]
  8. Baicchi, A.
    (2013) The ontological status of constructions in the mind of Italian university learners of English: Psycholinguistic evidence from a sentence-sorting experiment. InL. D. Michele (Ed.), Regenerating Community, Territory, Voices (pp.12–24). Napoli: Liguori.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Barðdal, J., Kristoffersen, K. E., & Sveen, A.
    (2011) West Scandinavian ditransitives as a family of constructions: With a special attention to the Norwegian ‘V-REFL-NP’ construction. Linguistics, 49, 53–104. doi:  10.1515/ling.2011.002
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.2011.002 [Google Scholar]
  10. Barr, D. J., Levy, R., Scheepers, C., & Tily, H. J.
    (2013) Random effects structure for confirmatory hypothesis testing: Keep it maximal. Journal of Memory and Language, 68, 255–278. doi:  10.1016/j.jml.2012.11.001
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2012.11.001 [Google Scholar]
  11. Bencini, G. M., & Goldberg, A. E.
    (2000) The contribution of argument structure constructions to sentence meaning. Journal of Memory and Language, 43, 640–651. doi:  10.1006/jmla.2000.2757
    https://doi.org/10.1006/jmla.2000.2757 [Google Scholar]
  12. Boas, H. C., & Ziem, A.
    (2018) Constructional approaches to syntactic structures in German. Berlin & New York: De Gruyter Mouton. 10.1515/9783110457155
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110457155 [Google Scholar]
  13. Bock, J. K., & Levelt, W. J. M.
    (1994) Language production: Grammatical encoding. InM. Gernsbacher (Ed.), Handbook of psycholinguistics (pp.945–984). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Casenhiser, D., & Goldberg, A. E.
    (2005) Fast mapping between a phrasal form and meaning. Developmental Science, 8, 500–508. doi:  10.1111/j.1467‑7687.2005.00441.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7687.2005.00441.x [Google Scholar]
  15. Childers, J. B., & Paik, J. H.
    (2009) Korean-and English-speaking children use cross-situational information to learn novel predicate terms. Journal of Child Language, 36, 201–224. doi:  10.1017/S0305000908008891
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0305000908008891 [Google Scholar]
  16. Choi, Y., & Trueswell, J. C.
    (2010) Children’s (in)ability to recover from garden paths in a verb-final language: Evidence for developing control in sentence processing. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 106, 41–61. doi:  10.1016/j.jecp.2010.01.003
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2010.01.003 [Google Scholar]
  17. Chomsky, N.
    (1965) Aspects and the Theory of Syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. De Knop, S., & Mollica, F.
    (2016) A construction-based study of German ditransitive phraseologisms for language pedagogy. InS. De Knop & G. Gilquin (Eds.), Applied construction grammar (pp.53–88). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110458268‑004
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110458268-004 [Google Scholar]
  19. Dryer, M.
    (2013) Order of subject, object and verb. InM. Haspelmath, M. Dryer, D. Gil & B. Comrie (Eds.), The world atlas of language structures online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Retrieved atwals.info/chapter/81 on 12-JUN-2020.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Du Bois, J. W.
    (2003) Argument structure. InJ. W. Du Bois, L. E. Kumpf, & W. J. Ashby (Eds.), Preferred argument structure: Grammar as architecture for function (pp.11–60). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing. 10.1075/sidag.14.04dub
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sidag.14.04dub [Google Scholar]
  21. Everitt, B. S., Landau, S., Leese, M., & Stahl, D.
    (2011) Cluster Analysis (5th edition). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. 10.1002/9780470977811
    https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470977811 [Google Scholar]
  22. Fisher, C., Gleitman, H., & Gleitman, L. R.
    (1991) On the semantic content of subcategorization frames. Cognitive Psychology, 23, 331–392. doi:  10.1016/0010‑0285(91)90013‑E
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0010-0285(91)90013-E [Google Scholar]
  23. Frenck-Mestre, C., Kim, S. K., Choo, H., Ghio, A., Herschensohn, J., & Koh, S.
    (2019) Look and listen! The online processing of Korean case by native and non-native speakers. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34(3), 385–404. doi:  10.1080/23273798.2018.1549332
    https://doi.org/10.1080/23273798.2018.1549332 [Google Scholar]
  24. Friederici, A. D., & Weissenborn, J.
    (2007) Mapping sentence form onto meaning: The syntax–semantic interface. Brain Research, 1146, 50–58. doi:  10.1016/j.brainres.2006.08.038
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2006.08.038 [Google Scholar]
  25. Garnsey, S. M., Pearlmuttter, N. J., Myers, E., & Lotocky, M. A.
    (1997) The contributions of verb bias and plausibility to the comprehension of temporarily ambiguous sentences. Journal of Memory and Language, 37, 58–93. doi:  10.1006/jmla.1997.2512
    https://doi.org/10.1006/jmla.1997.2512 [Google Scholar]
  26. Goldberg, A. E.
    (1995) Constructions: A construction grammar approach to argument structure. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. (2006) Constructions at work: The nature of generalization in language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. (2013a) Argument structure constructions versus lexical rules or derivational verb templates. Mind and Language, 28, 435–465. doi:  10.1111/mila.12026
    https://doi.org/10.1111/mila.12026 [Google Scholar]
  29. (2013b) Constructionist approach. InG. Trousdale & T. Hoffmann (Eds.), Oxford handbook of Construction Grammar (pp.15–31). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. (2019) Explain me this. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Goldwater, M. B., & Markman, A. B.
    (2009) Constructional sources of implicit agents in sentence comprehension. Cognitive Linguistics, 20, 675–702. doi:  10.1515/COGL.2009.029
    https://doi.org/10.1515/COGL.2009.029 [Google Scholar]
  32. Gries, S. T., & Wulff, S.
    (2005) Do foreign language learners also have constructions?Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics, 3, 182–200. doi:  10.1075/arcl.3.10gri
    https://doi.org/10.1075/arcl.3.10gri [Google Scholar]
  33. Hawkins, J. A.
    (2014) Cross-linguistic variation and efficiency. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199664993.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199664993.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  34. Healy, A., & Miller, G.
    (1970) The verb as the main determinant of sentence meaning. Psychonomic Science, 20, 372. 10.3758/BF03335697
    https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03335697 [Google Scholar]
  35. Hwang, H., & Kaiser, E.
    (2014) The role of the verb in grammatical function assignment in English and Korean. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40, 1363–1376. doi:  10.1037/a0036797
    https://doi.org/10.1037/a0036797 [Google Scholar]
  36. Jackendoff, R.
    (1975) Morphological and semantic regularities in the lexicon. Language, 51, 639–671. 10.2307/412891
    https://doi.org/10.2307/412891 [Google Scholar]
  37. Johnson, M. A., & Goldberg, A. E.
    (2013) Evidence for automatic accessing of constructional meaning: Jabberwocky sentences prime associated verbs. Language and Cognitive Processes, 28, 1439–1452. doi:  10.1080/01690965.2012.717632
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01690965.2012.717632 [Google Scholar]
  38. Kako, E.
    (2006) Thematic role properties of subjects and objects. Cognition, 101, 1–42. doi:  10.1016/j.cognition.2005.08.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2005.08.002 [Google Scholar]
  39. Kako, E., & Wagner, L.
    (2001) The semantics of syntactic structures. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 5, 102–108. doi:  10.1016/S1364‑6613(00)01594‑1
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S1364-6613(00)01594-1 [Google Scholar]
  40. Kamide, Y., Altmann, G. T., & Haywood, S. L.
    (2003) The time-course of prediction in incremental sentence processing: Evidence from anticipatory eye movements. Journal of Memory and Language, 49, 133–156. doi:  10.1016/S0749‑596X(03)00023‑8
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0749-596X(03)00023-8 [Google Scholar]
  41. Kaschak, M. P., & Glenberg, A. M.
    (2000) Constructing meaning: The role of affordances and grammatical constructions in sentence comprehension. Journal of Memory and Language, 43, 508–529. doi:  10.1006/jmla.2000.2705
    https://doi.org/10.1006/jmla.2000.2705 [Google Scholar]
  42. Kim, H., & Grüter, T.
    (2019) Cross-linguistic activation of implicit causality biases in Korean learners of English. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 22(3), 441–455. doi:  10.1017/S1366728918000561
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728918000561 [Google Scholar]
  43. Kim, H., & Rah, Y.
    (2016) Effects of verb semantics and proficiency in second language use of constructional knowledge. The Modern Language Journal, 100(3), 716–731. doi:  10.1111/modl.12345
    https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12345 [Google Scholar]
  44. (2019) Constructional processing in a second language: The role of constructional knowledge in verb-construction integration. Language Learning, 69(4), 1022–1056. doi:  10.1111/lang.12366
    https://doi.org/10.1111/lang.12366 [Google Scholar]
  45. Kim, H., Shin, G-H., & Hwang, H.
    (2020). Cross-linguistic influence in the second language integration of verb and construction. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 42, 825–847. doi:  10.1017/S0272263119000743
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263119000743 [Google Scholar]
  46. Kim, J-B.
    (2016) The syntactic structures of Korean: A construction grammar perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781316217405
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316217405 [Google Scholar]
  47. Kim, J-B., & Choi, I.
    (2004) The Korean case system: A unified, constraint-based approach. Language Research, 40(4), 885–921.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. Kim, J. B., & Sells, P.
    (2010) Oblique case marking on core arguments in Korean. Studies in Language, 34(3), 602–635. doi:  10.1075/sl.34.3.04kim
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sl.34.3.04kim [Google Scholar]
  49. Kim, K.
    (2016) A contrastive analysis of English and Korean news headlines. Studies in Linguistics, 41, 25–48.
    [Google Scholar]
  50. Kim, Y.
    (1999) The effects of case marking information on Korean sentence processing. Language and Cognitive Processes, 14, 687–714. doi:  10.1080/016909699386239
    https://doi.org/10.1080/016909699386239 [Google Scholar]
  51. Levin, B., & Rappaport Hovav, M.
    (1995) Unaccusativity in the syntax-lexical semantics interface. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Liang, J.
    (2002) Sentence comprehension by Chinese learners of English: Verb-centered or construction-based. Unpublished master’s thesis, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangdong.
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Lyngfelt, B.
    (2009) Towards a comprehensive Construction Grammar account of control: A case study of Swedish infinitives. Constructions and Frames, 1, 153–189. doi:  10.1075/cf.1.2.01lyn
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cf.1.2.01lyn [Google Scholar]
  54. MacDonald, M. C., Pearlmutter, N. J., & Seidenberg, M. S.
    (1994) The lexical nature of syntactic ambiguity resolution. Psychological Review, 101, 676–703. doi:  10.1037/0033‑295X.101.4.676
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.101.4.676 [Google Scholar]
  55. Mantel, N.
    (1967) The detection of disease clustering and a generalized regression approach. Cancer Research, 27, 209–220.
    [Google Scholar]
  56. McRae, K., Ferretti, T. R., & Amyote, L.
    (1997) Thematic roles as verb-specific concepts. Language and Cognitive Processes, 12, 137–176. doi:  10.1080/016909697386835
    https://doi.org/10.1080/016909697386835 [Google Scholar]
  57. Miyamoto, E. T.
    (2002) Case markers as clause boundary inducers in Japanese. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 31, 307–347. doi:  10.1023/A:1019540324040
    https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1019540324040 [Google Scholar]
  58. Nolan, B.
    (2013) Constructions as grammatical objects. InB. Nolan & E. Diedrichsen (Eds.), Linking constructions into functional linguistics: The role of constructions in grammar (pp.143–178). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 10.1075/slcs.145.06nol
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slcs.145.06nol [Google Scholar]
  59. O’Grady, W. D.
    (1991) Categories and case: The sentence structure of Korean (Vol.71). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 10.1075/cilt.71
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.71 [Google Scholar]
  60. Perek, F.
    (2012) Alternation-based generalizations are stored in the mental grammar: Evidence from a sorting task experiment. Cognitive Linguistics, 23, 601–635. doi:  10.1515/cog‑2012‑0018
    https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2012-0018 [Google Scholar]
  61. Perek, F., & Hilpert, M.
    (2014) Constructional tolerance: Cross-linguistic differences in the acceptability of non-conventional uses of constructions. Constructions and Frames, 6, 266–304. doi:  10.1075/cf.6.2.06per
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cf.6.2.06per [Google Scholar]
  62. Pickering, M. J., & Ferreira, V. S.
    (2008) Structural priming: A critical review. Psychological Bulletin, 134, 427–459. doi:  10.1037/0033‑2909.134.3.427
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.134.3.427 [Google Scholar]
  63. Pinker, S.
    (1989) Learnability and cognition: The acquisition of argument structure. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  64. R Core Team
    R Core Team (2016) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. URLhttps://www.R-project.org/
    [Google Scholar]
  65. Robenalt, C., & Goldberg, A. E.
    (2015) Judgment evidence for statistical preemption: It is relatively better to vanish than to disappear a rabbit, but a lifeguard can equally well backstroke or swim children to shore. Cognitive Linguistics, 26, 467–503. doi:  10.1515/cog‑2015‑0004
    https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2015-0004 [Google Scholar]
  66. Shin, G-H.
    (2018) Event structure composition in Korean verbless constructions by particles and verbal nouns: Evidence from newspaper headlines. Journal of Language Sciences, 25(3), 403–425. doi:  10.14384/kals.2018.25.3.403
    https://doi.org/10.14384/kals.2018.25.3.403 [Google Scholar]
  67. (2020) Connecting input to comprehension: First language acquisition of active transitives and suffixal passives by Korean-speaking preschool children. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
    [Google Scholar]
  68. Sohn, H. M.
    (1999) The Korean Language. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  69. Suzuki, T., & Kobayashi, T.
    (2017) Syntactic cues for inferences about causality in language acquisition: Evidence from an argument-drop language. Language Learning and Development, 13, 24–37. doi:  10.1080/15475441.2016.1193019
    https://doi.org/10.1080/15475441.2016.1193019 [Google Scholar]
  70. Trueswell, J. C.
    (1996) The role of lexical frequency in syntactic ambiguity resolution. Journal of Memory and Language, 35, 566–585. doi:  10.1006/jmla.1996.0030
    https://doi.org/10.1006/jmla.1996.0030 [Google Scholar]
  71. Trueswell, J. C., & Tanenhaus, M. K.
    (1994) Toward a lexicalist framework for constraint-based syntactic ambiguity resolution. InC. Clifton, K. Rayner & L. Frazier (Eds.), Perspectives on sentence processing (pp.155–179). New York, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
    [Google Scholar]
  72. Västi, K., & Kittilä, S.
    (2014) Semantic roles and verbless constructions: A Finnish challenge for verb-centered approaches. Studies in Language, 38(3), 512–542. doi:  10.1075/sl.38.3.04vas
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sl.38.3.04vas [Google Scholar]
  73. Wittek, A., & Tomasello, M.
    (2005) German-speaking children’s productivity with syntactic constructions and case morphology: Local cues act locally. First Language, 25, 103–125. doi:  10.1177/0142723705049120
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0142723705049120 [Google Scholar]
  74. Yong, N., & Lee, M.
    (2012) Semantic effects of a pre-verbal argument on the online processing of Korean sentences: An eye-tracking study. Korean Journal of Linguistics, 37, 639–657. 10.18855/lisoko.2012.37.3.009
    https://doi.org/10.18855/lisoko.2012.37.3.009 [Google Scholar]
  75. Zwaan, R. A., & Radvansky, G. A.
    (1998) Situation models in language comprehension and memory. Psychological Bulletin, 123, 162–185. doi:  10.1037/0033‑2909.123.2.162
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.123.2.162 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error