S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 55 Number 1/3 (2019)
Korean Wh-Island Sentences: Individual Differences in Acceptability Judgments and Working Memory
- Hahn, Hye-ryeong
- Issue Date
- Language Research, Vol.55 No.2, pp. 379-412
- While it has been claimed that scrambling in East Asian languages is not subject to wh-island effects, studies into theoretical and experimental syntax have suggested that native Korean speakers vary in their acceptance of island constructions. This study addresses the individual differences in the acceptability judgments of Korean wh-island sentences in terms of working memory. In order to determine if the varied judgments of acceptability are attributable to differences in individuals’ working memory, an acceptability judgment test on various Korean wh-island constructions, and two memory span tests—a reading span test and a digit span test—were administered to 66 adult Korean native speakers. Pearson correlation analysis and a factor analysis were then performed on the participants’ acceptability judgment ratings and memory spans. The results revealed that the individuals’ acceptability judgments for wh-island sentences were not correlated with their reading span or digit span, although the group’s mean acceptability of the constructions gradually decreased as their expected processing complexity increased. These findings indicate that differences in individuals’ working memory are not the source of the observed acceptability variation.