Psycholinguistic experimentation has recently started to investigate processing difficulty in aspectual coercion. A number of studies focus on the computation of iterative readings in sentences like "John coughed all night". The findings are rather mixed: while some studies report difficulty, others did not find any effect. The present study scrutinizes the processing of iterative readings contingent on aspectual class. A first reading time experiment tested processing difficulty in iterated German accomplishments, and a second experiment tested iterative readings of German semelfactives. While iterative accomplishments enhanced difficulty, iterative semelfactives did not. The results show that computing an iterated reading doesn't introduce difficulty per se but, rather, difficulty depends on aspectual class. The findings are used to evaluate different kinds of semantic theories on aspectual coercion.
Proceedings of the 27th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Natasha Abner and Jason Bishop
Table of contents