You are here: Home Publications Symmetrical and asymmetrical voice systems and processing load: Pupillometric evidence from sentence production in Tagalog and German

Symmetrical and asymmetrical voice systems and processing load: Pupillometric evidence from sentence production in Tagalog and German

Sauppe, S. (2017). Symmetrical and asymmetrical voice systems and processing load: Pupillometric evidence from sentence production in Tagalog and German. Language, 93(2), 288-313. doi:10.1353/lan.2017.0015.
The voice system of Tagalog has been proposed to be symmetrical in the sense that there are no morphologically unmarked voice forms. This stands in contrast to asymmetrical voice systems which exhibit unmarked and marked voices (e.g., active and passive in German). This paper investigates the psycholinguistic processing consequences of the symmetrical and asymmetrical nature of the Tagalog and German voice systems by analyzing changes in cognitive load during sentence production. Tagalog and German native speakers' pupil diameters were recorded while they produced sentences with different voice markings. Growth curve analyses of the shape of task-evoked pupillary responses revealed that processing load changes were similar for different voices in the symmetrical voice system of Tagalog. By contrast, actives and passives in the asymmetrical voice system of German exhibited different patterns of processing load changes during sentence production. This is interpreted as supporting the notion of symmetry in the Tagalog voice system. Mental effort during sentence planning changes in different ways in the two languages because the grammatical architecture of their voice systems is different. Additionally, an anti-Patient bias in sentence production was found in Tagalog: cognitive load increased at the same time and at the same rate but was maintained for a longer time when the patient argument was the subject, as compared to agent subjects. This indicates that while both voices in Tagalog afford similar planning operations, linking patients to the subject function is more effortful. This anti-Patient bias in production adds converging evidence to “subject preferences” reported in the sentence comprehension literature.
About MPI

This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.

 

Street address
Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands


Mailing address
P.O. Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Phone:   +31-24-3521911
Fax:        +31-24-3521213
E-mail:   


Public Outreach Officer
Charlotte Horn