[PS-2.31] Eye-tracking evidence of online processing of Ser and Estar in Spanish

Bazaco, C. & Ito, K. .

Ohio State University

This study investigates the online processing of Spanish copula ser and estar in adjectival predications. We hypothesize that the function of expressing permanent attributes with ser and the function of expressing temporal statuses within naturalistic processes with estar are lexicalized, and thus the anticipatory processing is initiated as soon as the copula is identified during spoken sentence comprehension. An eye-tracking experiment presented a short sentence with either (1) estar with a temporal, (2) estar with an artificial, or (3) ser with a permanent color status (e.g., Las uñas [están12/son3], cómo puedes observar, [negras de suciedad1/pintadas de negro2/negras3]) with a slide containing respective matched pictures (1: dirty nails, 2: painted nails, 3: gorilla nails) and a distracotr (clean nails). Native Spanish speakers (n=16) showed an immediate increase in looks to the naturalistic color target (dirty black nails) in both estar conditions 1&2: In condition 2, participants corrected their looks to the artificial target (painted nails) after hearing pintadas?). Upon hearing ser, they immediately looked at the permanent target (gorilla nails). Advanced learners (n=12) showed no anticipatory fixations and much higher errors. Thus, the associations between ser/estar and the following predications can be lexicalized but they are not easy to acquire.