Psycholinguistic research on Chinese

The main focus of this research group is on the interaction of information structure, event structure, and syntax in Mandarin Chinese.

The interaction of discourse salience, visual information uptake, and syntactic encoding in Mandarin Chinese

In this project we contrast Chinese and German with respect to how linguistic "givenness" affects speaker's lexical and syntactic choices.

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Processing discourse referents in Mandarin active and passive SOV sentences

In this project we ask, in how far information derived from the markers bèi and bǎ affect the interpretation of referents preceding and the prediction of referents following the markers.

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Predicting object states in Mandarin Chinese - insights from the ba-construction

One of the most discussed phenomena in Mandarin Chinese is the so-called bǎ-construction. Besides other functions, the marker bǎ changes the canonical word order S-V-O to S-bǎ-O-V; it marks the noun to which it belongs as the direct object, and it signals that the corresponding referent (in a transitive sentence) must be interpreted as having changed from one state to another. It is this latter aspect that we focus on in the current project.

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'Serial-verb-constructions' in motion event encoding - morphological, syntactic, and contextual aspects

In the domain of motion event encoding, Mandarin Chinese is often referred to when it comes to languages that are 'in between' the well-known verb-framed vs. satellite-framed distinction (Talmy 1985). Slobin (2004) classified Mandarin as an equipollently-framed language, i.e., path and manner information is distributed over two "equal" verbs. The structure that Slobin had in mind when he made this proposal is the so called "serial-verb-construction". However, a closer look at Mandarin Chinese raises quite a few questions which 1) relate to the context in which speakers actually use a serial verb construction, and 2) whether or not, it is even justified to analyze the lexical units that are combined, as being verbs. These two questions are in the focus of this project.

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Neural correlates of language processing in Chinese

This project is a cooperation between neurologists, physicists (Dept. of Neurology) and linguists (IDF). It investigates how vowels with different tonal distinctions are processed in the brain. Tonal differences in vowels play a crucial role for establishing differences in meaning in a tonal language such as Chinese. The processing of tone offers an interface between physiological and cognitive processing: highly relevant questions for researchers in the Dept. of Neurology include temporal and spatial aspects of neural processing of auditory stimuli of this type. For the linguists involved in the project, a great interest lies in investigating the role of higher cognitive structures and processes (i.e., language-related processing) in the processing of elementary auditory input.

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Projects associated with this group

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