Encoding transfer of possession events


  • Yiran Chen University of Pennsylvania
  • Anna Papafragou University of Pennsylvania
  • John Trueswell University of Pennsylvania




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


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.




How to Cite

Chen, Yiran, Anna Papafragou, and John Trueswell. 2022. “Encoding Transfer of Possession Events”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 7 (1): 5290. https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v7i1.5290.