ISCA Tutorial and Research Workshop on Experimental Linguistics (ExLing 2008)

Athens, Greece
August 25-27, 2008

The Role of Animacy in the Production of Greek Relative Clauses

Sofia Loui, Silvia P. Gennari

Department of Psychology, University of York, U.K.

This paper examines the effects of animacy on relative clauses production in Greek. Previous studies in English suggest that animacy influences structure preferences in main and relative clauses: animate entities are typically made the subject of the verb and this tendency often results in passive structures. In the present experiment, Greek speakers were presented with pictures depicting actions with an animate and an inanimate participant or two animate participants and they were asked to write answers to questions about the inanimate or the animate patients of these actions. The results were then compared to the results obtained in English and Spanish. Results suggest that animacy does not play a critical role in determining Greek structures, as it does in English, indicating that language-specific constraints play a role in production mechanisms to a greater extent than conceptual factors such as animacy.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Loui, Sofia / Gennari, Silvia P. (2008): "The role of animacy in the production of greek relative clauses", In ExLing-2008, 145-148.