Linguistic expression and conceptual representation of motion events in Turkish, English and French: an experimental study

Toplu, Ayşe Betül
The present dissertation reports the results of a multi-disciplinary experimental study, which combines psycholinguistic and cognitive methodologies in order to achieve two broad objectives. The first objective is providing a comparative psycholinguistic analysis of the expression of motion events in three languages, namely Turkish, English and French, taking Talmy‘s verb-framed language vs. satellite-framed language typology (Talmy, 1985) as the framework. The second one is investigating the relationship between linguistic representation and conceptual representation by taking motion events as the testing ground. In order to pursue these two lines of inquiry, five complementary tasks are conducted on three groups of adult subjects. The results of the first two tasks, the language production task and the language comprehension task, verify the Talmyan typology experimentally by showing sharp differences between the data obtained from native speakers of typologically different languages (English vs. Turkish and French), as well as remarkable similarities between the data obtained from native speakers of typologically similar languages (Turkish and French). On the other hand, the remaining three non-verbal tasks, the categorization task and the two eye-tracking tasks, present valuable insights into the nature of conceptual event representation by revealing a uniform pattern across languages. This latter result is inconsistent with the renowned linguistic relativity hypothesis (Whorf, 1956); however in line with the universalist view (Jackendoff, 1990, 1996), which suggests that conceptual event representation is language-free and independent of the linguistic encoding preferences of different languages.


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Citation Formats
A. B. Toplu, “Linguistic expression and conceptual representation of motion events in Turkish, English and French: an experimental study,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2011.