Encoding transfer of possession events

Yiran Chen, Anna Papafragou, John Trueswell


The present study focuses on the linguistic and non-linguistic encoding of giving and taking events. For both English and Mandarin Chinese speakers, we find that the linguistic encoding of these transfer events respects the Thematic Hierarchy and the Source-Goal asymmetry (Exp.1 and 2): Agents are mentioned more often than Patient; Goals are encoded more often than Sources. However, in non-linguistic representation, the bias against Sources is not observed (Exp.3 and 4): Giver, Givee, Taker and Takee are equally prominent in memory. Taken together, our results support linguistic theories extending Source/Goal paths to Transfer of Possession events and call for a finer-grained account of homology between linguistic and non-linguistic encoding of events.


source-goal asymmetry; goal bias; event cognition; thematic roles; transfer of possession; psycholinguistics

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v7i1.5290

Copyright (c) 2022 Yiran Chen, Anna Papafragou, John Trueswell

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