Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Accusative case


Children and adults follow cues such as case marking and word order in their assignment of semantic roles in simple transitives (e.g., the dog chased the cat). It has been suggested that the same cues are used for the interpretation of complex sentences, such as transitive relative clauses (RCs) (e.g., that’s the dog that chased the cat) (Bates, Devescovi, & D'Amico, 1999). We used a pointing paradigm to test German-speaking 3-, 4-, and 6-year-old children’s sensitivity to case marking and word order in their interpretation of simple transitives and transitive RCs. In Experiment 1, case marking was ambiguous. The only cue available was word order. In Experiment 2, case was marked on lexical NPs or demonstrative pronouns. In Experiment 3, case was marked on lexical NPs or personal pronouns. Whereas the younger children mainly followed word order, the older children were more likely to base their interpretations on the more reliable case-marking cue. In most cases, children from both age groups were more likely to use these cues in their interpretation of simple transitives than in their interpretation of transitive RCs. Finally, children paid more attention to nominative case when it was marked on first-person personal pronouns than when it was marked on third-person lexical NPs or demonstrative pronouns, such as der Löwe ‘the-NOM lion’ or der ‘he-NOM.’ They were able to successfully integrate this case-marking cue in their sentence processing even when it appeared late in the sentence. We discuss four potential reasons for these differences across development, constructions, and lexical items. (1) Older children are relatively more sensitive to cue reliability. (2) Word order is more reliable in simple transitives than in transitive RCs. (3) The processing of case marking might initially be item-specific. (4) The processing of case marking might depend on its saliency and position in the sentence.

Concepts: Subject, English language, German language, Grammatical case, Nominative case, Accusative case, Dative case, Personal pronoun


This study investigates the comprehension of wh-questions in individuals with aphasia (IWA) speaking Turkish, a non-wh-movement language, and German, a wh-movement language. We examined six German-speaking and 11 Turkish-speaking IWA using picture-pointing tasks. Findings from our experiments show that the Turkish IWA responded more accurately to both object who and object which questions than to subject questions, while the German IWA performed better for subject which questions than in all other conditions. Using random forest models, a machine learning technique used in tree-structured classification, on the individual data revealed that both the Turkish and German IWA’s response accuracy is largely predicted by the presence of overt and unambiguous case marking. We discuss our results with regard to different theoretical approaches to the comprehension of wh-questions in aphasia.

Concepts: Scientific method, Machine learning, Object, German language, Grammatical case, Genitive case, Accusative case, Dative case


This study employed a paired priming paradigm to ask whether input features influence a child’s propensity to use non-nominative versus nominative case in subject position, and to use non-nominative forms even when verbs are marked for agreement. Thirty English-speaking children (ages 2;6 to 3;7) heard sentences with pronouns that had non-contrasting case forms (e.g. Dad hugs it and it hugs Tigger) and it was hypothesized that these forms would lead to more errors (e.g. Him hugs Barney) in an elicited phrase more often than if the children heard contrasting case forms (e.g. Dad hugs us and we hug the doggie). Tense/agreement features were also examined in children’s elicited productions. The findings were consistent with predictions, and supported the input ambiguity hypothesis of Pelham (2011). Implications for current accounts of the optional infinitive stage are discussed.

Concepts: Scientific method, Epistemology, Subject, English language, Inflection, Nominative case, Accusative case, Dative case


The anatomical nomenclature rules require that terms be as short and simple as possible. One common exception to that rule is Latin terms that contain two nouns in nominative case, for example, Musculus masseter and Os ischium. Although these may appear to speakers of other languages to be compound nouns, they are appositions, grammatical structures in which one noun renames, defines or describes the entity named by the other noun. More than 125 terms in Terminologia Anatomica can be simplified, without loss of clarity, by prohibiting use of more than one noun in nominative case in Latin anatomical terms (e.g., Masseter and Os ischii). Clin. Anat. 30:156-158, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Grammar, Noun, German language, Latin, Name, Nomenclature, Grammatical case, Accusative case


We here present a survey of the increasing use of the -ensis (-ense) ending for the formation of specific epithets that do not refer to geographical locations but to names of research institutes or their acronyms. To our opinion the use of the -ensis (-ense) ending must be discouraged for such purposes, the formation of nouns in the genitive case being preferred for the formation of such arbitrary epithets. Emendation of Appendix 9 - Orthography to the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes is proposed with guidelines for the formation of such names.

Concepts: Noun, Name, Turkish language, Nomenclature, Grammatical case, Genitive case, Accusative case, Capitalization


According to the current version of Rule 12c of the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes, one of the ways in which a specific epithet can be treated is as an adjective that must agree in gender with the generic name. I propose emending this part of Rule 12c to specify that such adjectives must be in the singular form in the nominative case.

Concepts: Spanish language, Noun, Latin, Inflection, Nominative case, Accusative case, Dative case, Icelandic language


In Russian negative sentences the verb’s direct object may appear either in Accusative case which is licensed by the verb (as is common cross-linguistically) or in Genitive case which is licensed by the negation (Russian-specific ‘Genitive-of-Negation’ phenomenon). Such sentences were used to investigate whether case marking is employed for anticipating syntactic structure, and whether lexical heads other than the verb can be predicted on the basis of a case-marked noun phrase. Experiment 1, a completion task, confirmed that Genitive-of-Negation is part of Russian speakers' active grammatical repertoire. In Experiments 2&3, the Genitive/Accusative case manipulation on the preverbal object led to shorter reading times at the negation and verb in the Genitive vs. Accusative condition. Furthermore, Experiment 3 manipulated linear order of the direct object and the negated verb in order to distinguish whether the abovementioned facilitatory effect was predictive or integrative in nature, and concluded that the parser actively predicts a verb and (otherwise optional) negation on the basis of a preceding genitive-marked object. Similarly to a head-final language, case-marking information on preverbal NPs is used by the parser to enable incremental structure building in a free-word-order language such as Russian. (PQJE_1228684_supplemental_material.docx).

Concepts: Grammar, Object, Noun, German language, Syntax, Grammatical case, Genitive case, Accusative case


Studies examining age of onset (AoO) effects in childhood bilingualism have provided mixed results as to whether early sequential bilingual children (eL2) differ from simultaneous bilingual children (2L1) and L2 children on the acquisition of morphosyntax. Differences between the three groups have been attributed to other factors such as length of exposure (LoE), language abilities, and the phenomenon to be acquired. The present study investigates whether four- to five-year-old German-speaking eL2 children differ from 2L1 children on the acquisition of wh-questions, and whether these differences can be explained by AoO, LoE, and/or knowledge of case marking. The 2L1 children outperformed the eL2 children in terms of accuracy; however, both bilingual groups exhibited similar error patterns. This suggests that 2L1 and eL2 bilingual children are sensitive to the same morphosyntactic cues, when comprehending wh-questions. Finally, children’s performance on the different types of wh-questions was explained by a combination of knowledge of case marking, LoE, and AoO.

Concepts: Scientific method, German language, Greek language, Lemma, Genitive case, Grammatical gender, Accusative case, Dative case


This study investigated how Turkish-speaking children and adults interpret negative sentences with disjunction (English or) and ones with conjunction (English and). The goal was to see whether Turkish-speaking children and adults assigned the same interpretation to both kinds of sentences and, if not, to determine the source of the differences. Turkish-speaking children and adults were found to assign different interpretations to negative sentences with disjunction just in case the nouns in the disjunction phrase were marked with accusative case. For children, negation took scope over disjunction regardless of case marking, whereas, for adults, disjunction took scope over negation if the disjunctive phrases were case marked. Both groups assigned the same interpretation to negative sentences with conjunction; both case-marked and non-case-marked conjunction phrases took scope over negation. The findings are taken as evidence for a ‘subset’ principle of language learnability that dictates children’s initial scope assignments.

Concepts: Logic, Object, German language, Latin, Grammatical case, Genitive case, Accusative case, Truth table


Two experiments used eye-tracking during reading to investigate the role of the consistency of the relative markedness alignment of noun phrases (NPs) in the processing of complex sentences in Korean. To do so, the animacy of the first NP was varied in both experiments to manipulate the relative markedness of NPs. In addition, case markings of the second NP (nominative vs. accusative) were manipulated in the first experiment and the markings of the first NP (nominative vs. topic) were manipulated in the second experiment. Results revealed that the animacy manipulation and the nominative-topicality manipulation showed measurable influence on the participants' reading of the complex sentences. Also, the effect of the prominence misalignment caused by animacy seems to have a stronger effect on reading than the effect caused by the nominative-topicality manipulation. The experiments suggested that on-line processing of Korean complex sentences are affected by the consistency of the relative markedness alignment of NPs.

Concepts: Causality, Object, Noun, Pronoun, Grammatical case, Nominative case, Accusative case, Noun phrase