Logical Metonymy Resolution in a Words-as-Cues Framework: Evidence From Self-Paced Reading and Probe Recognition


Abstract Logical metonymy resolution (begin a book → begin reading a book or begin writing a book) has traditionally been explained either through complex lexical entries (qualia structures) or through the integration of the implicit event via post-lexical access to world knowledge. We propose that recent work within the words-as-cues paradigm can provide a more dynamic model of logical metonymy, accounting for early and dynamic integration of complex event information depending on previous contextual cues (agent and patient). We first present a self-paced reading experiment on German subordinate sentences, where metonymic sentences and their paraphrased version differ only in the presence or absence of the clause-final target verb (Der Konditor begann die Glasur → Der Konditor begann, die Glasur aufzutragen/The baker began the icing → The baker began spreading the icing). Longer reading times at the target verb position in a high-typicality condition (baker + icing → spread ) compared to a low-typicality (but still plausible) condition (child + icing → spread) suggest that we make use of knowledge activated by lexical cues to build expectations about events. The early and dynamic integration of event knowledge in metonymy interpretation is bolstered by further evidence from a second experiment using the probe recognition paradigm. Presenting covert events as probes following a high-typicality or a low-typicality metonymic sentence (Der Konditor begann die Glasur → AUFTRAGEN/The baker began the icing → SPREAD), we obtain an analogous effect of typicality at 100 ms interstimulus interval

Cognitive Science, 8
Alessandra Zarcone
Alessandra Zarcone
Professor of Language Technologies and Cognitive Assistants

Computational linguist with a background in NLP and in psycholinguistics, working on AI, NLP and human-machine interaction.