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The Effect of the Markedness of Intra-sentence Perspectivization on Sentence Processing

Author: XieWeiXia
Tutor: JiangMeng
School:
Course: Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords: intra-sentence perspectivization markedness linguistic conceptualcompetence hypothesis sentence processing mechanism E-prime experiment
CLC: B842
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2014
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Abstract


From the perspective of linguistic conceptual competence, perspectivization can bedefined as follows: perspectivization is the mental cognitive operations whereby humanperspective experiences are made sense of and transformed into verbally-encodableperspective conceptual structures on the basis of cognitive domain and lexicalconceptual resources that verbal subjects have mastered via such secondary mentaloperations as the choice of vantage point, mental scanning, figure/ground assignment,and choice of perspective mode. Here, the perspective experiences are various, whichfor instance, contain intra-sentence canonical perspective experiences that correlate topeople’s mental preference. In the light of this notion, we divide perspectivization intofour levels as follows: unmarkedness perspectivization, weak markednessperspectivization, medium markedness perspectivization and strong markednessperspectivization based on the deviation degree that sentences deviate from canonicalperspective. As far as my knowledge is concerned, there are relatively small quantitiesof studies related to the mental operational mechanisms of perspectivization on sentenceprocessing in the light of conceptual competence.The current research adopts the empirical study by way of reaction time to explorethe effects of mental operational mechanisms of perspectivization on sentenceprocessing. Two research questions are put forward:1) Does the markedness ofintra-sentence perspectivization have an effect on sentence processing?2) If themarkedness of intra-sentence perspectivization has an effect on sentence processing,then how does it exert its effect?The quantitative research is applied to the current study. Totally, thirty studentsfrom first, second and third year of postgraduates majored in English language andliterature, foreign linguistics and applied linguistics, and the theory and practice oftranslation in Sichuan International Studies University (SISU) are chosen as subjects.The materials, programmed by E-Prime2.0, are presented at random on the19inch wide screen. The subjects are required to carry out the sensibility judgment by pressing thebutton upon understanding the English sentences with blanks, followed by fillers whichare presented to be judged by subjects whether they are suitable for filling in theprevious blanks. The behavioral data of reaction time is put into the statistic softwareSPSS16.0. The experiment was completed in the Key Lab of Cognitive Neuroscience&Foreign Language Learning in SISU.The research obtains the following findings:1) There is statistically significantdistinction in reaction time between ISPTM0and ISPTM+(t=-2.802, p=0.009);2) Thereis no statistically obvious difference between ISPTM+and ISPTM++(t=-0.937, p=0.356);3) There are significant distinction between ISPTM++and ISPTM+++(t=-2.191, p=0.037).Besides, the mean reaction time of these four levels of perspectivization is presented inthe following: ISPTM0(1845.93ms)<ISPTM+(1948.33ms)<ISPTM++(1988.03ms)<ISPTM+++(2175.13ms).In summary, two important conclusions are indicated as follows: firstly, themarkedness of intra-sentence perspectivization have effects on sentence processing,specifically speaking, learners activate the least mental operational procedure ofperspectivization in processing sentences with the unmarked perspectivization, a littlebit more with the weak markedness perspectivization, much more with the mediummarkedness perspectivization, but the most in strong markedness perspectivization.Secondly, as perspectivization is the intrinsic working mechanism of conceptualcompetence and works on the process of experiential conceptualization in languagelearning and application, the comprehensiveness and firmness of mental operations ofperspectivization will influence language comprehension.

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