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Experiment Author: Yuki Yoshimura. Adapted from STEP and used with permission of Brian MacWhinney
Investigates whether the gender of actors/patients in sentences influences which noun is picked as the subject of a sentence.
In this experiment, sentences with two nouns and a verb appear. The sentences are not always gramatically correct. For each trial, attribute the action with one of the people in the sentence. Press "1" for the first person and press "2" for the second person. There are 54 trials in this experiment.
This study examined how adult native English speakers interpret sentences that contain pronouns, and how it differs from sentence interpretation with common nouns based on the theory of the Competition Model. The major interest of the study is to look at which cue, word order and case-marking cue, the native English speakers rely on more when there is competition of the two cues in interpreting a sentence. Thirteen adult native English speakers were asked to interpret sentences with common nouns and pronouns in the pilot study. The interim result shows the significant overall effect of word order cue, while it also suggests the strong tendency of using case-marking cue when accusative pronoun appears in a sentence. The study is still under the process of the pilot study, and thus this paper focuses on explaining the method.