Sit down and read on: Working memory and long-term memory in particle-verb processing


Particle verbs (e.g., look up) are lexical items for which particle and verb share a single lexical entry. Using event-related brain potentials, we examined working memory and longterm memory involvement in particle-verb processing. Dutch participants read sentences with head verbs that allow zero, two, or more than five particles to occur downstream. Additionally, sentences were presented for which the encountered particle was semantically plausible, semantically implausible, or forming a non-existing particle verb. An anterior negativity was observed at the verbs that potentially allow for a particle downstream relative to verbs that do not, possibly indexing storage of the verb until the dependency with its particle can be closed. Moreover, a graded N400 was found at the particle (smallest amplitude for plausible particles and largest for particles forming non-existing particle verbs), suggesting that lexical access to a shared lexical entry occurred at two separate time points.

In: Brain and Language, 127 (2), 296-306