We investigate how native speakers of Swedish process sentences, such as "Some students fell asleep during the lecture but they didn’t miss much". The sentences contain anaphoric reference ("they") to a quantified expression ("some students"). We use ERPs to tap into the mental processes involved in interpreting quantifiers and establishing reference.
Project manager Fredrik Heinat Other project members Eva Klingvall, Lund University, Sweden Participating organizations Linnaeus University; Lund University, Sweden Financier Vetenskapsrådet (the Swedish Research Council) Timetable 1 jan 2019–31 dec 2021 Subject Psycholinguistics, Linguistics, English, Swedish (Department of Languages, Faculty of Arts and Humanities)
More about the project
In this project, we investigate how anaphors referring back to quantified expressions such as some students are interpreted in Swedish.
The sentences in (1) and (2) both talk about students falling asleep in a lecture:
(1) Some students fell asleep at the lecture.
(2) Few students fell asleep at the lecture.
When referring back to 'the students' in (1) we could say something like (3), where we have the students falling asleep in mind:
(3) They were so tired after yesterday's party.
When referring back to 'the students' in (2), on the other hand, we typically have the students who didn't fall asleep in the lecture in mind:
(4) They were so fascinated by the topic.
Giving (3) as a continuation to (2) is also possible while (4) as a continuation of (1) is quite odd.
We use EEG to examine how native speakers of Swedish process sentences like these, with a particular focus on anaphoric reference to a quantified expression.