Volume 48, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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An OSV word order that deviates from the canonical SVO word order is typically viewed as derived through movement. This theory has been widely supported by psycholinguistic studies showing that the displaced constituents are mentally reactivated at the gap positions. However, some cognitive-functionalists have proposed an alternative account: in a topic-prominent language like Chinese, topic is the basic unit of a sentence that delimits the frame within which the main predication holds. The present study adopts the cross-modal antecedent priming technique to test whether the sentence-initial object is structurally associated with the verb in native speakers’ online processing. Results of two experiments show that the sentence-initial object is not associated with the verb whatsoever, neither lexically nor structurally, shedding light on the typological characteristics of Chinese as a topic-prominent language. However, the processing of the antecedent object was shown facilitated at the post-quantifier position.


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