Processing past time reference in a tenseless language: An ERP study on the Mandarin aspectual morphemes -le and -guo

Aymeric Collart, Shiao hui Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Reference to the time of an event can be encoded through various devices in language. While the neural processing of time reference in tense languages has been explored through tense inflection, relatively little is known about such processing through aspect in a tenseless language. The current study investigated how Mandarin speakers process perfective aspect markers -le and -guo, which are usually related to past time. Through the manipulation of the (dis)agreement between time adverbs and perfective markers, the results revealed that when co-occurring with a future/incongruent time adverb, compared with a past/congruent one, -le induced an early anterior negativity, while -guo triggered a P600. These distinct ERP patterns suggest that there is no unitary mechanism underlying perfectives in Mandarin, and that aspect modulates the relation of an event to time reference in a tenseless language, just like what tense inflection does in a tense language.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100998
JournalJournal of Neurolinguistics
Volume59
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Aug

Keywords

  • Anterior negativity
  • Aspect marker
  • Event sequence
  • P600
  • PADILIH
  • Time reference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Processing past time reference in a tenseless language: An ERP study on the Mandarin aspectual morphemes -le and -guo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this