Universal 20 and Word-Order Variation in Korean

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2013-04-01
Authors
Joo, Kum-Jeong
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University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Department of Linguistics
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2013
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This study examines the acceptable internal orderings of Korean noun phrases (NPs) when there are demonstratives, numerals, adjectives, and nouns in the NP. In the current study, word-order flexibility is reanalyzed in terms of a processing efficiency account. The basic assumption for the internal structure of the NP is that the preferred phrase sounds natural and is easy to process, and it would be expected that people would rate it as having the highest acceptability and respond to it more quickly than to a less preferred phrase. To investigate this assumption, two experiments were conducted. In Experiment 1, an off-line acceptability judgment task with six types of NPs, participants were asked to rate the naturalness of each phrase on a five-point scale. The results indicate that there is a ranking in the naturalness of the structures. The most acceptable NP is DEM+A+N+NUM, and the least acceptable is A+DEM+NUM+N. In the follow-up self-paced reading task, Experiment 2 finds that there is a relation between ease of processing and preference for a specific pattern. The most preferred NP, DEM+A+N+NUM, shows the fastest response times, while the least preferred phrase, A+DEM+NUM+N, takes more time to respond to. Findings of the current study indicate that processing of Korean NPs is facilitated when two conditions are satisfied: domain minimization and compositionality.
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linguistics
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Joo, Kum-Jeong. 2013. Universal 20 and Word-Order Variation in Korean. University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Working Papers in Linguistics 44(2).
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