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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Keep Calm and Move On: Interplay between Morphological Cue Occurrence and Frequency-based Heuristics for Sentence Comprehension in Korean

  • Author(s): Lee, Chanyoung
  • Shin, Gyu-Ho
  • et al.

We explore how morphological cue occurrence and frequency-based heuristics interplay during sentence comprehension in Korean, a lesser-studied language in this respect. Two self-paced reading experiments with a suffixal passive construction (verb-final vs. verb-initial) and a morphological causative construction (verb-initial in comparison to the same word-order pattern in the suffixal passive) revealed that the heuristics (canonicity of word order; typicality of form-function parings involving case-marking) affected processing behaviours more strongly than the expected advantage of an early-arriving morphological cue in comprehension. Our findings support the heuristic-before-algorithm processing architecture, which is driven by the general property of human cognition that continuously seeks to reduce the burden of work at hand at the earliest opportunities. This appeals to the online cognitive equilibrium hypothesis that argues for the processor’s propensity to enter and remain in the state of cognitive equilibrium as early and long as possible during processing.

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