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01/05/2022 | Publikation

Zaychenko, Katharina (2022). "Grammatical and cognitive factors shaping the conceptualization of motion events: A cross-linguistic investigation of language production and memory performance“

Languages in Contrast


Motion event construal gives insight into the nature of the linguistic and conceptual representations underlying the encoding of events. Studies show that event descriptions differ cross-linguistically due to, amongst other factors, the absence or presence of grammatical aspect. While speakers of aspect languages generally focus on the process, speakers of non-aspect languages tend to perceive the event holistically and focus on endpoints. This investigation examines visual ENDPOINT SALIENCE as a further factor that shapes event encoding. Thus, in this model, grammatical aspect is seen as a part of a more complex system of factors that determine event construal. The analyses, which cover German speakers, English speakers, and German-speaking learners of English, involve linguistic production data and results from memory performance tests. The findings show that the focus on endpoints increases for salient stimuli. While German speakers and learners of English show a tendency to focus on endpoints, a clear preference for focusing on the process can be observed in English speakers. Verbalizing endpoints correlates with the ability to remember them in a memorization task. The implications of these outcomes are discussed in the context of two factors which shape event encoding: grammatical aspect and endpoint salience.


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