Under what Conditions is a Plural Represented as More than One? Two Methods for Testing

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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10900/77652
Dokumentart: ConferenceObject
Date: 2017-08
Language: English
Faculty: 5 Philosophische Fakultät
Department: Allgemeine u. vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft
DDC Classifikation: 150 - Psychology
400 - Language and Linguistics
420 - English and Old English
Keywords: Linguistik , Psychologie , Plural , Psycholinguistik
Other Keywords:
Sentence processing
License: http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/doku/lic_mit_pod.php?la=de http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/doku/lic_mit_pod.php?la=en
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This paper reviews the findings from a series of psycholinguistic experiments using two different methods designed to probe the conceptual representation of plural expressions. Experiments using a novel number interference paradigm suggested that singular indefinite NPs within distributed predicates are mentally represented as multiple entities (Patson & Warren 2010), but that distributed predicates are conceptually represented as multiple events only in the presence of strong cues to plurality (Patson & Warren 2015). These findings show that the number interference paradigm can be used to probe when comprehenders mentally represent multiple events and entities. A second set of experiments used a picture-judgment task to begin to understand the nature of the plural representations created by comprehenders. These studies suggest that the conceptual representations of plural definite descriptions are no more similar to pictures of small sets of items than they are to pictures of singletons (Patson et al. 2014). These findings and others contribute to a more nuanced view of how language comprehenders compute and represent number. Importantly, these findings introduce two experimental paradigms useful for probing plural representations.

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