Processing Negative Polarity Items in L1 and L2 Turkish

Principal Investigator: Nazik Dinçtopal Deniz

Researchers: Özge Bakay, Didem Kurt, Münir Özturhan, Onur Keleş & Firuze Sürücü

Project Description: Funded through a TÜBİTAK 1001 Grant (#221K063), this project investigates the processing of (long-distance licensed) negative polarity items (NPIs) in Turkish in the context of cue-retrieval and surprisal. Since Turkish is a head-final language, an NPI precedes its licensor in Turkish. This allows us to create conditions through which we can examine the role of prediction as well as memory retrieval in resolving linguistic dependencies.

Both syntactic and semantic factors influence long-distance licensing of Turkish NPIs. Syntactically the embedded verb morphology (transparent or opaque) and semantically the type of the matrix verb (neg-raising or non-neg raising) can affect whether or not a negation-marked matrix verb can license an NPI in an embedded clause. This project will examine whether or not one or the other factor is given primacy or weighted more heavily in long-distance licensing of NPIs by Turkish first and second speakers and whether or not the two groups will give differential weights to such cues in their resolution of the dependency.