Linguistics and English Language

Meaning and grammar seminar

Speakers: Sergey Minor, Gillian Ramchand, Myrte Titia Vos (UiT The Arctic University of Norway)

Title: The Processing of Grammatical Aspect in Russian: Evidence from Visual World Eye-Tracking

Abstract: The properties of grammatical aspect in Slavic have received a lot of attention in the theoretical linguistic literature, however experimental studies on the processing and acquisition of Slavic aspect remain sparse.

We present the results of a Visual World eye-tracking study which was aimed at investigating the processing of verbal aspect by Russian-speaking children and adults. Each trial involved a sentence-picture matching task where the participants were presented with a pair of pictures on a screen: one representing an action in progress (e.g. grandpa drilling a hole) and one representing the result that obtained after that action was completed. While looking at the pictures, the participants were presented with an audio stimulus involving a sentence with either a perfective or an imperfective verb, and were asked to choose the picture that best corresponded to the sentence. The participants’ eye-movements and offline responses were recorded.

We tested 124 adult speakers and 174 children in three age groups: 3-4, 5-6 and 7-8 y.o. The results show that adults are very quick to react to verbal aspect, with a significant effect occurring already at 450ms after verb onset. All the groups of children also showed a significant effect of grammatical aspect, however their reaction was slower and the effect size was smaller. We observe a clear developmental path from 3 to 8 years, however even the oldest children do not reach adult-like processing level.


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Dec 05 2019 -

Meaning and grammar seminar

2019-12-05: The Processing of Grammatical Aspect in Russian: Evidence from Visual World Eye-Tracking

Room 3.11, Dugald Stewart Building, 3 Charles Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AD