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Online processing of “real” and “fake”: the cost of being too strong

  • Strengthening literal meanings of linguistic expressions appears central to communicative success. Weakening on the other hand would appear not to be viable given that literal meaning already grossly underdetermines reality, let alone possibility. We discuss productive weakening in fake-type adjectival modification and present evidence from event-related brain potentials that such weakening has neurophysiological consequences and is qualitatively different from other mechanisms of modification. Specifically, the processing of fake-type constructions (e.g., "a fake diamond") evokes a Late Positivity as characteristic of certain types of referential shift or reconceptualization. We argue that fake-type composition involves an intermediate representation that is semantically contradictory and that the Late Positivity reflects an interface repair mechanism that redresses the contradiction. In contrast, composition involving reputedly over-informative real-type adjectives evokes no comparable processing costs.

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Author:Petra B. Schumacher, Patrick BrandtGND, Hanna Weiland-Breckle
Parent Title (English):The semantics of gradability, vagueness, and scale structure
Place of publication:Cham
Document Type:Part of a Book
Year of first Publication:2018
Date of Publication (online):2018/06/27
Tag:ERP; contradiction; inference; late positivity; privative adjectives comprehension; repair; weakeniing
First Page:93
Last Page:111
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 400 Sprache, Linguistik
Open Access?:nein
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt