The Influence of Grammatical Roles and Gender information on Chinese Reader's Pronoun Resolution: From Lexical Priming to Comprehension Judgment

The Influence of Grammatical Roles and Gender information on Chinese Reader's Pronoun Resolution: From Lexical Priming to Comprehension Judgment

First Author: CHIA-HSING CHEN -- Institute of Taiwan Languages and Language Teaching
Additional authors/chairs: 
Chiu-Hua Huang
Keywords: Chinese, Linguistic Comprehension, Pronoun Resolution, Gender Information
Abstract / Summary: 

The influence of the antecedent's grammatical role (subject or object) on pronoun resolution is an important issue. Previous studies have found that pronoun resolution shows subject bias. It still remains to be clarified is that the interaction of the pronoun's gender semantics and the antecedent's grammatical role in the pronoun resolution.
Experiment 1 investigated the influence of the antecedent's grammatical role and gender type (personal names with masculine and feminine) on Chinese readers’ probe words priming and comprehension judgment. Experiment 2 investigated the pronoun resolution mechanism of readers by manipulating gender semantic features of pronouns and its congruence with probe word. The results of Experiment 1 indicate that the subject bias appeared in probe word priming stage. The accuracy rates for the subject was high and the reaction time was fast. However, in comprehension judgment, there was a significant interaction of antecedents’ grammatical role and gender type. The subject bias was also found when the antecedents were both masculine names, but when antecedents were both feminine names Instead, it shows object bias. There was no effect on the accuracy rates, but in the reaction time in Experiment 2. In the probe word priming, when the gender semantic features of pronoun is congruent with the probe word, both male and female pronouns present the subject bias. However, in the incongruent cases, readers show longer response time when female subjects meet male pronouns, but subject bias still appears when the male subjects meet female pronouns. In the comprehension judgment, there was object bias in the cases of the female pronoun with incongruent probe word. These findings show that in Chinese reading, processes of the pronoun refer to the subject or the object may be affected by the gender information of the antecedent itself.