[PS-2.22] Discourse vs event anchored participants: an ERP analysis

Lorusso, P. 1, 2 , Manca, A. D. 2 , Franco, L. 3 & Grimaldi, M. 2

1 Università di Firenze
2 CRIL Università del Salento
3 Universidade Nova de Lisboa

In Italian 3rd person singular clitics, which represent event-anchored participants have inflected forms for gender (lo - m. / la- fem.), while 1st and 2nd person clitics, which represent discourse-anchored participants (speaker and hearer), display syncretic forms (mi/ti for both genders). Here we present the results of an ERP study (subjects n=20, 10 females; 30 yrs ±3 - ActiCAP 64Ch) in which we explored the interaction between person and gender agreement: while 1st /2nd person clitics may show default agreement (1) with past participle in Italian, 3rd person clitics never do (2).

(1) a. mi/ti hanno vista/o
pro me /you (CL acc. fem/masc Sing.)have (present 3rd Pl )seen(P.Participle fem/masc.sing)
They have seen me/you

(2) a. la hanno vista/*o
pro her (CL acc. fem . sing)have (Present 3rd Pl ) seen (P.Participle fem.sing)

The results of the study show different neural responses depending on the person of the clitics: While the comparison between gender-agreeing conditions for 1st/2nd person show a P200, with 3rd person there is a LAN+P600 pattern. In the comparison between the grammatical conditions (1st/2nd person wit default agreement vs 3rd with proper agreement) we found a LAN+N400 in 3rd person (event-anchored) agreement checking.