Cumulative and Collective Readings in the Sentences Containing Plural Ambiguity in Turkish: A Priming Study
Ayanoğlu, Zahide Kübra
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Some sentences, which contain more than one plural expression, namely numerical expressions, bring about lexical ambiguities. For example, the sentence ‘İki çocuk üç kitap taşıdı.’ (Two boys carried three books) contains more than one meaning. This sentence can be read as there are two boys and one of the boys keeps one of the books and the other boy keeps two books (cumulative reading). The other interpretation of the sentence is that there are two boys and three books, and three books were carried by those two boys at the same time (collective reading). In this study, the results of three experiments were reported. These results indicate that whether priming can affect the participants’ choice, regarding cumulative/collective contrast. Sentence-picture matching tests were used to investigate whether native speakers of Turkish are influenced by priming one of the interpretations. In the prime trials, participants carried out a sentence-picture matching task which gives rise to a strong bias against one of the two types of readings to different participants, in experiment 1 collective prime, in experiment 2 cumulative prime and in experiment 3 (control experiment) no prime. In the target trials, participants’ preferences were analysed to see whether there is a relation between collective/cumulative prime and collective/cumulative responses. Results of three experiments show that there is a symmetrical relation between collective prime and collective responses while there is an asymmetrical relation between cumulative prime and cumulative responses. It seems that native speakers of Turkish are prone to choose collective interpretation of the ambiguous sentences that contain more than one plural expression.