Can pragmatic inference benefit from topic prominence? ERP evidence from Mandarin Chinese
Topic structure and pragmatic inference
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofJournal of Neurolinguistics ; vol. 46, p.11-22
This study investigated how pragmatic inference making is modulated by information structure in preceding text. We created three types of two-clause structures in which the interpretation of a critical word in the second clause was dependent on the engagement of pragmatic inference as well as a successful establishment of a referential relation between the target word and an intended antecedent in the preceding text. An enhanced P600 response was elicited by target words when the intended referent was in non-topic position compared to topic position or sub-topic position. Moreover, a reduced N400 was elicited by the target word when the intended referent in the preceding clause was in non-topic position, compared to topic position. These findings suggest that the process of building an inferential relation can benefit from information structural prominence of topicality.
Chen L, Xu X, Chen Q, Royle P (2018). Can pragmatic inference benefit from topic prominence? ERP evidence from Mandarin Chinese. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 46 (2018) 11–22.