2002 Volume 21 Issue 1 Pages 43-44
This study investigated comprehension processes of Japanese sentences which included an adjective-noun phrase. Specifically, we examined whether evaluation of a consistent semantic relation between an adjective and a noun in a sentence of reading material was suspended until the argument structure of the sentence was constructed. Twenty-three participants read two types of sentences: acceptable sentences that contained a plausible adjective-noun phrase, and unacceptable sentences that contained an implausible adjective-noun phrase. In comparison with the acceptable sentences, phrase-by-phrase reading time for the unacceptable sentences was prolonged not only at the position of adjective-noun phrase but also at the position of the verb that constructed the propositional representation of the sentence. This result suggests that evaluation of a semantic relation of an adjective-noun phrase is postponed until the coherent argument structure is constructed.