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Concept: Verb


The interaction between language and motor action has been approached by studying the effect of action verbs, kinaesthetic imagery and mental subtraction upon the performance of a complex movement, the squat vertical jump (SVJ). The time of flight gave the value of the height of the SVJ and was measured with an Optojump® and a Myotest® apparatuses. The results obtained by the effects of the cognitive stimuli showed a statistically significant improvement of the SVJ performance after either loudly or silently pronouncing, hearing or reading the verb saute (jump in French language). Action verbs specific for other motor actions (pince = pinch, lèche = lick) or non-specific (bouge = move) showed no or little effect. A meaningless verb for the French subjects (tiáo = jump in Chinese) showed no effect as did rêve (dream), tombe (fall) and stop. The verb gagne (win) improved significantly the SVJ height, as did its antonym perds (lose) suggesting a possible influence of affects in the subjects' performance. The effect of the specific action verb jump upon the heights of SVJ was similar to that obtained after kinaesthetic imagery and after mental subtraction of two digits numbers from three digits ones; possibly, in the latter, because of the intervention of language in calculus. It appears that the effects of the specific action verb jump did seem effective but not totally exclusive for the enhancement of the SVJ performance. The results imply an interaction among language and motor brain areas in the performance of a complex movement resulting in a clear specificity of the corresponding action verb. The effect upon performance may probably be influenced by the subjects' intention, increased attention and emotion produced by cognitive stimuli among which action verbs.

Concepts: Spanish language, Word, Verb, Romance languages, Grammatical number, Grammatical tense


Many children with specific language impairment (SLI) have persisting problems in the correct use of verb tense, but there has been disagreement as to the underlying reason. When we take into account studies using receptive as well as expressive language tasks, the data suggest that the difficulty for children with SLI is in knowing when to inflect verbs for tense, rather than how to do so. This is perhaps not surprising when we consider that tense does not have a transparent semantic interpretation, but depends on complex relationships between inflections and hierarchically organized clauses. An explanation in terms of syntactic limitations contrasts with a popular morpho-phonological account, the Words and Rules model. This model, which attributes problems to difficulties with applying a rule to generate regular inflected forms, has been widely applied to adult-acquired disorders. There are striking similarities in the pattern of errors in adults with anterior aphasia and children with SLI, suggesting that impairments in appreciation of when to mark tense may apply to acquired as well as developmental disorders.

Concepts: Language, Word, Verb, Inflection, Romance languages, Grammatical mood, Grammatical aspect, Grammatical conjugation


Objective: The hypothesis that muscular states are related to emotions has been supported predominantly by research on facial expressions. However, body posture also may be important to the initiation and modulation of emotions. This experiment aimed to investigate whether an upright seated posture could influence affective and cardiovascular responses to a psychological stress task, relative to a slumped seated posture. Method: There were 74 participants who were randomly assigned to either a slumped or upright seated posture. Their backs were strapped with physiotherapy tape to hold this posture throughout the study. Participants were told a cover story to reduce expectation effects of posture. Participants completed a reading task, the Trier Social Stress speech task, assessments of mood, self-esteem, and perceived threat. Blood pressure and heart rate were continuously measured. Results: Upright participants reported higher self-esteem, more arousal, better mood, and lower fear, compared to slumped participants. Linguistic analysis showed slumped participants used more negative emotion words, first-person singular pronouns, affective process words, sadness words, and fewer positive emotion words and total words during the speech. Upright participants had higher pulse pressure during and after the stressor. Conclusions: Adopting an upright seated posture in the face of stress can maintain self-esteem, reduce negative mood, and increase positive mood compared to a slumped posture. Furthermore, sitting upright increases rate of speech and reduces self-focus. Sitting upright may be a simple behavioral strategy to help build resilience to stress. The research is consistent with embodied cognition theories that muscular and autonomic states influence emotional responding. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Psychology, Affect, Linguistics, Verb, Emotion, Affective neuroscience, Feeling, Affect display


Sentence comprehension requires processing of argument structure information associated with verbs, i.e. the number and type of arguments that they select. Many individuals with agrammatic aphasia show impaired production of verbs with greater argument structure density. The extent to which these participants also show argument structure deficits during comprehension, however, is unclear. Some studies find normal access to verb arguments, whereas others report impaired ability. The present study investigated verb argument structure processing in agrammatic aphasia by examining event-related potentials associated with argument structure violations in healthy young and older adults as well as aphasic individuals. A semantic violation condition was included to investigate possible differences in sensitivity to semantic and argument structure information during sentence processing. Results for the healthy control participants showed a negativity followed by a positive shift (N400-P600) in the argument structure violation condition, as found in previous ERP studies (Friederici & Frisch, 2000; Frisch, Hahne, & Friederici, 2004). In contrast, individuals with agrammatic aphasia showed a P600, but no N400, response to argument structure mismatches. Additionally, compared to the control groups, the agrammatic participants showed an attenuated, but relatively preserved, N400 response to semantic violations. These data show that agrammatic individuals do not demonstrate normal real-time sensitivity to verb argument structure requirements during sentence processing.

Concepts: Subject, Verb, Verb argument, Expressive aphasia


This paper investigates the nature of reduction phenomena in informal speech. It addresses the question whether reduction processes that affect many word types, but only if they occur in connected informal speech, may be categorical in nature. The focus is on reduction of schwa in the prefixes and on word-final /t/ in Dutch past participles. More than 2000 tokens of past participles from the Ernestus Corpus of Spontaneous Dutch and the Spoken Dutch Corpus (both from the interview and read speech component) were transcribed automatically. The results demonstrate that the presence and duration of /t/ are affected by approximately the same phonetic variables, indicating that the absence of /t/ is the extreme result of shortening, and thus results from a gradient reduction process. Also for schwa, the data show that mainly phonetic variables influence its reduction but its presence is affected by different and more variables than its duration, which suggests that the absence of schwa may result from gradient as well as categorical processes. These conclusions are supported by the distributions of the segments' durations. These findings provide evidence that reduction phenomena which affect many words in informal conversations may also result from categorical reduction processes.

Concepts: Affect, Sentence, Language, International Phonetic Alphabet, English language, Verb, Participle, Passive voice


This study investigates the ERP components associated with the processing of words that are critical to generating and rejecting deductive conditional Modus Ponens arguments (If P then Q; P//Therefore, Q). The generation of a logical inference is investigated by placing a verb in the minor premise that matches the one used in the antecedent of the conditional premise so that the inference can be carried out (If John is sleeping then he is snoring; John is sleeping). Rejections are examined by placing verbs that are associates of the verb that would make the conclusion valid (Conclusion ‘therefore John is dreaming’ in the example above). The inference generation phase was characterized by two ERP components, namely the P3b and the PSW. Rejections were associated with an N2 and a late positive component. The implications of these results regarding the processing of words in an inferential context are discussed.

Concepts: Logic, Verb, Reasoning, Analogy, Deductive reasoning, Inference, Syllogism, Inquiry


Abstract This study investigates verbal morphology in Specific Language Impairment (SLI) in German, focusing on past participle inflection. Longitudinal data from 12 German-speaking children with SLI, six monolingual and six Turkish-German sequential bilingual children, were examined, plus an additional group of six typically developing Turkish-German sequential bilingual children. In a recent study (Rothweiler, M., Chilla, S., & H. Clahsen. (2012). Subject verb agreement in Specific Language Impairment: A study of monolingual and bilingual German-speaking children. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 15, 39-57), the same children with SLI were found to be severely impaired in reliably producing correct agreement-marked verb forms. By contrast, the new results reported in this study show that both the monolingual and the bilingual children with SLI produce participle inflection according to their language age. Our results strengthen the case of difficulties with agreement as a linguistic marker of SLI in German and show that it is possible to identify SLI from an early sequential bilingual child’s performance in one of her two languages.

Concepts: Language, Verb, Inflection, Grammatical number, Grammatical aspect, Grammatical gender, Participle, Gerund


This study investigated how forty-six mothers modified their talk about familiar and unfamiliar nouns and verbs when interacting with their children with Down Syndrome (DS), language impairment (LI), or typical development (TD). Children (MLUs < 2·7) were group-matched on expressive vocabulary size. Mother-child dyads were recorded playing with toy animals (noun task) and action boxes (verb task). Mothers of children with DS used shorter utterances and more verb labels in salient positions than the other two groups. All mothers produced unfamiliar target nouns in short utterances, in utterance-final position, and with the referent perceptually available. Mothers also talked more about familiar nouns and verbs and labelled them more often and more consistently. These findings suggest that mothers of children in the early period of language development fine-tune their input in ways that reflect their children's vocabulary knowledge, but do so differently for nouns and verbs.

Concepts: Down syndrome, Object, Noun, Verb, Speech, Reference, Grammatical number, Word game


Signed languages exhibit iconicity (resemblance between form and meaning) across their vocabulary, and many non-Indo-European spoken languages feature sizable classes of iconic words known as ideophones. In comparison, Indo-European languages like English and Spanish are believed to be arbitrary outside of a small number of onomatopoeic words. In three experiments with English and two with Spanish, we asked native speakers to rate the iconicity of ~600 words from the English and Spanish MacArthur-Bates Communicative Developmental Inventories. We found that iconicity in the words of both languages varied in a theoretically meaningful way with lexical category. In both languages, adjectives were rated as more iconic than nouns and function words, and corresponding to typological differences between English and Spanish in verb semantics, English verbs were rated as relatively iconic compared to Spanish verbs. We also found that both languages exhibited a negative relationship between iconicity ratings and age of acquisition. Words learned earlier tended to be more iconic, suggesting that iconicity in early vocabulary may aid word learning. Altogether these findings show that iconicity is a graded quality that pervades vocabularies of even the most “arbitrary” spoken languages. The findings provide compelling evidence that iconicity is an important property of all languages, signed and spoken, including Indo-European languages.

Concepts: Spanish language, Linguistics, Language, Word, Noun, Verb, Semiotics, Romance languages


Complex networks are important tools for analyzing the information flow in many aspects of nature and human society. Using data from the microblogging service Twitter, we study networks of correlations in the occurrence of words from three different categories, international brands, nouns and US major cities. We create networks where the strength of links is determined by a similarity measure based on the rate of co-occurrences of words. In comparison with the null model, where words are assumed to be uncorrelated, the heavy-tailed distribution of pair correlations is shown to be a consequence of groups of words representing similar entities.

Concepts: Variance, Science, Word, Difference, Probability theory, Verb, Similarity, Twitter