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Title: Argument structure and the representation of abstract semantics
Author: Rodríguez Ferreiro, Javier
Andreu Barrachina, Llorenç  
Sanz Torrent, Mònica
Others: Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3)
Universitat de Barcelona
Keywords: morphology
Issue Date: 11-Aug-2014
Publisher: PLoS ONE
Citation: Rodríguez-Ferreiro, J., Andreu, L. & Sanz-Torrent, M. (2014). Argument structure and the representation of abstract semantics. PLoS ONE, 9(8). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104645
Project identifier: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/SEJ2007-62743
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Abstract: According to the dual coding theory, differences in the ease of retrieval between concrete and abstract words are related to the exclusive dependence of abstract semantics on linguistic information. Argument structure can be considered a measure of the complexity of the linguistic contexts that accompany a verb. If the retrieval of abstract verbs relies more on the linguistic codes they are associated to, we could expect a larger effect of argument structure for the processing of abstract verbs. In this study, sets of length- and frequency-matched verbs including 40 intransitive verbs, 40 transitive verbs taking simple complements, and 40 transitive verbs taking sentential complements were presented in separate lexical and grammatical decision tasks. Half of the verbs were concrete and half were abstract. Similar results were obtained in the two tasks, with significant effects of imageability and transitivity. However, the interaction between these two variables was not significant. These results conflict with hypotheses assuming a stronger reliance of abstract semantics on linguistic codes. In contrast, our data are in line with theories that link the ease of retrieval with availability and robustness of semantic information.
Language: English
ISSN: 1932-6203
Appears in Collections:Articles cientÍfics

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