Competition in argument interpretation: Evidence from the neurobiology of language

Ina Bornkessel‐Schlesewsky and Matthias Schlesewsky

in Competing Motivations in Grammar and Usage

Published in print October 2014 | ISBN: 9780198709848
Published online January 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191780158 | DOI:
Competition in argument interpretation: Evidence from the neurobiology of language

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This chapter presents an approach to competition in incremental argument interpretation based on the latest version of the extended Argument Dependency Model (eADM; Bornkessel and Schlesewsky 2006). It argues that, during real time language comprehension, each potential argument (i.e. every “nouny” constituent in a sentence) competes for three cardinal categories (CCs) of argument interpretation: actor, subject (privileged syntactic argument), and topic. The CCs serve to anchor arguments in the current event (actor), the upcoming discourse (subject), and the preceding discourse (topic). It outlines a neurobiological processing architecture based on the CCs and independent assumptions about information processing in the human brain and discusses existing evidence in favor of this approach as well as testable new predictions.

Keywords: cardinal category; attractor; brain; neurobiology; language comprehension; extended Argument Dependence Model; eADM

Chapter.  7667 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Semantics ; Psycholinguistics

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