Can Idioms Be Passivized?: Evidence from Online Processing

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/271019
Title:
Can Idioms Be Passivized?: Evidence from Online Processing
Author:
Stone, Megan Schildmier
Affiliation:
University of Arizona
Publisher:
University of Arizona Linguistics Circle
Journal:
Coyote Papers: Working Papers in Linguistics, Linguistic Theory at the University of Arizona
Issue Date:
2013
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/271019
Abstract:
This paper presents the results of an experiment designed to access native speakers’ underlying grammatical knowledge concerning the passivizability of English Verb-Object (VO) idioms. Although it has long been noted that some VO idioms retain their idiomatic meaning in the passive while others do not (Katz & Postal 1964, et seq.), the source of this variation is unclear, and native speaker intuitions on a large number of idioms are not as clear cut as previous accounts might suggest. Taking as a starting point Folli and Harley’s (2007) hypothesis that there is a structural distinction between passivizable and nonpassivizable idioms, the current study tests one prediction of this hypothesis, namely that there should be a categorical distinction between the two types of idioms in the grammars of native speakers. The experimental results contradict this hypothesis, as evidenced by a normal distribution of response times to passive idioms. However, it is hypothesized that this online task is not appropriate to access the fine-tuned syntactico-semantic judgments underlying native speaker intuitions of idiom passivizability, due to the fact that the methodology employed here—a self-paced reading task—does not yield the expected results even for canonically passivizable and nonpassivizable idioms.
Type:
text; Article
Language:
en_US
ISSN:
0894-4539

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorStone, Megan Schildmieren_US
dc.date.accessioned2013-03-04T19:39:33Z-
dc.date.available2013-03-04T19:39:33Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.issn0894-4539-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10150/271019-
dc.description.abstractThis paper presents the results of an experiment designed to access native speakers’ underlying grammatical knowledge concerning the passivizability of English Verb-Object (VO) idioms. Although it has long been noted that some VO idioms retain their idiomatic meaning in the passive while others do not (Katz & Postal 1964, et seq.), the source of this variation is unclear, and native speaker intuitions on a large number of idioms are not as clear cut as previous accounts might suggest. Taking as a starting point Folli and Harley’s (2007) hypothesis that there is a structural distinction between passivizable and nonpassivizable idioms, the current study tests one prediction of this hypothesis, namely that there should be a categorical distinction between the two types of idioms in the grammars of native speakers. The experimental results contradict this hypothesis, as evidenced by a normal distribution of response times to passive idioms. However, it is hypothesized that this online task is not appropriate to access the fine-tuned syntactico-semantic judgments underlying native speaker intuitions of idiom passivizability, due to the fact that the methodology employed here—a self-paced reading task—does not yield the expected results even for canonically passivizable and nonpassivizable idioms.en_US
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.publisherUniversity of Arizona Linguistics Circleen_US
dc.titleCan Idioms Be Passivized?: Evidence from Online Processingen_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeArticleen_US
dc.contributor.departmentUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.identifier.journalCoyote Papers: Working Papers in Linguistics, Linguistic Theory at the University of Arizonaen_US
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