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A Universal Cognitive Bias in Word Order: Evidence From Speakers Whose Language Goes Against It

Martin, Alexander; Adger, David; Abels, Klaus; Kanampiu, Patrick; Culbertson, Jennifer; (2024) A Universal Cognitive Bias in Word Order: Evidence From Speakers Whose Language Goes Against It. Psychological Science 10.1177/09567976231222836. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

There is a longstanding debate in cognitive science surrounding the source of commonalities among languages of the world. Indeed, there are many potential explanations for such commonalities—accidents of history, common processes of language change, memory limitations, constraints on linguistic representations, etc. Recent research has used psycholinguistic experiments to provide empirical evidence linking common linguistic patterns to specific features of human cognition, but these experiments tend to use English speakers, who in many cases have direct experience with precisely the common patterns of interest. Here, we highlight the importance of testing populations whose languages go against cross-linguistic trends. We investigate whether monolingual speakers of Kîîtharaka, which has an unusual way of ordering words, mirror those of English speakers. We find that they do, supporting the hypothesis that universal cognitive representations play a role in shaping word order.

Type: Article
Title: A Universal Cognitive Bias in Word Order: Evidence From Speakers Whose Language Goes Against It
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/09567976231222836
Publisher version: https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/psychological-sci...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10186612
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