Processing auxiliary selection with Italian intransitive verbs

Ellen Gurman Bard, Cheryl Frenck-Mestre, Antonella Sorace
2010 Linguistics  
For intransitive verbs in languages with a choice of perfective auxiliaries, o¤-line acceptability judgments conform to a semantically based Auxiliary Selection Hierarchy (ASH) (Sorace , 2004 . According to the ASH, inherently telic verbs regularly selecting auxiliary BE appear to be core exemplars of unaccusative syntax, while atelic verbs of agentive activity regularly selecting HAVE are core exemplars of unergative syntax. Noncore verbs that are inherently neither telic nor agentive allow
more » ... r agentive allow either auxiliary to degrees depending on context and on distance from telic and agentive poles. ASH e¤ects have not yet been investigated in real-time language processing. This paper demonstrates ASH e¤ects on processing of Italian auxiliaries essere 'be' and avere 'have' in on-line comprehension and production. For native speakers reading Italian sentences, total reading times display the ASH e¤ect: a stronger advantage for correct over incorrect auxiliaries with aspectually prototypical core verbs than with peripheral exemplars. In word production, the ASH e¤ect appears when visually presented auxiliaries prime production of participles corresponding to infinitive stimuli. The pattern of results conforms to linguistic markedness and suggests how the ASH may be reflected in the real-time processing of auxiliaries.
doi:10.1515/ling.2010.011 fatcat:d77zy5ixczbnzmqi54gsfnt4sq