How grammaticized concepts shape event conceptualization in language production: Insights from linguistic analysis, eye tracking data, and memory performance

The role of grammatical systems in profiling particular conceptual categories is used as a key in exploring questions concerning language specificity during the conceptualization phase in language production. This study focuses on the extent to which crosslinguistic differences in the concepts profiled by grammatical means in the domain of temporality (grammatical aspect) affect event conceptualization and distribution of attention when talking about motion events. The analyses, which cover native speakers of Standard Arabic, Czech, Dutch, English, German, Russian and Spanish, not only involve linguistic evidence, but also data from an eye tracking experiment and a memory test. The findings show that direction of attention to particular parts of motion events varies to some extent with the existence of grammaticized means to express imperfective/progressive aspect. Speakers of languages that do not have grammaticized aspect of this type are more likely to take a holistic view when talking about motion events and attend to as well as refer to endpoints of motion events, in contrast to speakers of aspect languages.
Publication type
Journal article
Publication date
2012

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