S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 56 Number 1-3 (2020)
Processing Negative Polarity Items in Korean: Implications from an ERP Study
- Issue Date
- Language Research, Vol.56 No.2, pp.167-192
- NPI ; amwu+N+to ; te isang ; licensor-licensee relation ; ERP ; N400 ; semantic integration
- The present study used event-related potentials (ERPs) to examine the neural correlates supporting the processing of two negative polarity items (NPI) (nominal amwu+N+to any+N+even and adverbial te isang any more/longer) in Korean. Participants read sentences phrase by phrase while their brain activities during the processing of the NPIs and their licensors were being recorded. The results revealed that the NPI licensors in such contexts as positive or interrogative clauses not containing a proper licensor elicited a larger N400 component, possibly reflecting the cost of semantic or pragmatic integration. By contrast, sentences with the adverbial NPI te isang in the negative implicatureinducing before clause are not significantly different in ERP responses from those in the negative clause, thus evoking no ERP component. The present findings not only demonstrate semantic and pragmatic effects in neural signatures evoked by varied NPI-licensor relations, but also point to the multidimensionality of NPI processing/licensing recruiting semantic/pragmatic integration as well as syntactic dependency formation.