Processing delays: the late reactivation of the argument of unaccusative verbs

Loes Koring, Hans van de Koot

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference paperpeer-review


    An eye-tracking experiment using the Visual World Paradigm (VWP) shows that in on-line sentence processing in English the argument of an unaccusative verb reactivates late after verb offset. In contrast to previous studies, this VWP experiment establishes the exact time course of this effect, which matches the time course previously found for Dutch, despite differences in word order between the two languages. Furthermore, it uncovers an early reactivation of the argument of unergative verbs that has previously gone unnoticed. Such an effect has previously been observed for Dutch, but not for English. Moreover, the effect seems to occur earlier in English than in Dutch. We suggest that this difference may be due to the more rigid word order of English, which provides the parser with more informative cues.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)65-78
    Number of pages14
    JournalLinguistics in the Netherlands
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2018
    EventAnnual conference of the Linguistic Society of the Netherlands (49th : 2018) - Utrecht, Netherlands
    Duration: 3 Feb 20183 Feb 2018


    • unaccusativity
    • argument reactivation
    • Visual World Paradigm (VWP)
    • language processing


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