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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Speak before you think: the role of language in verb concepts
Author(s): Alloway, Tracy Packiam
Corley, Martin
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Keywords: Language
Linguistic relativity
Tamil language Verb
Mandarin dialects Verb
Translating and interpreting
China Languages
Paired-association learning
Reaction time
Issue Date: 20-Nov-2009
Date Deposited: 11-Feb-2009
Citation: Alloway TP & Corley M (2009) Speak before you think: the role of language in verb concepts. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 4 (2), pp. 319-346.
Abstract: This study investigates the role of language on verb concepts in a cross-linguistic environment. The inflectional morphology of verbs in Tamil is contrasted with Mandarin, a language that does not explicitly reflect tense changes in the same manner as Tamil and English. In the baseline condition in experiment 1, participants were required to rate the similarity of object picture pairs; and in the experimental condition, they were asked to rate the similarity of action picture pairs. In experiment 2, participants’ similarity judgments and response latencies were recorded when they were presented with the object and action picture pairs. This allowed us to investigate the strength of linguistic influence when representing event concepts. Data from this study revealed a moderate influence of language on verb concepts in the target populations. There was a significant different in the response latencies of the Tamil and Chinese participants, although both language groups exhibited a similar response pattern in the action picture judgment task. This finding suggests that while both groups perceived the events similarly, language may be mediating their responses, resulting in longer response times for the Chinese participants. This could be because considering tense in Mandarin is not ‘automatic’ and requires extra work, possibly because it is not intrinsic to the verb.
DOI Link: 10.1163/1568537041725105
Rights: Published in Journal of Cognition and Culture by BRILL Academic Publishers.

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