Terms of Address Change the Expectancy of Honorific Forms of Utterance: An Event-Related Potential Study

[Speaker] Kwak, Jarang:1
[Co-author] Rha, Younghyoun:2, Lee, Donghoon:1
1:Pusan National University, Department of Psychology (Korea(Republic of Korea)), 2:Pusan National University, Cognitive Science Program (Korea(Republic of Korea))

The current study aims to examine the influence of extra-linguistic information on utterance comprehension with a neurophysiological method (ERP). Korean has a rich honorific system to express messages politely toward listeners. We primarily focus on how the social distance information between the speaker and the addressee affects Korean honorific utterance processing. We manipulated the pragmatic agreement in Korean utterance by matching/mismatching sentence-final endings for the antecedent terms of address in terms of social status and intimacy. When the use of honorific ending forms mismatched the relative social status of the addressee (e.g., "Boss, I've finishedless respectful the work."), the N400 component was observed, compared to the matched condition. Importantly, however, the N400 effect disappeared if the addressee is a figure in a close relationship (e.g., "Father, I've finishedless respectful the work."). These results demonstrate that extra-linguistic information such as terms of address denoting social distance may influence on-line utterance processing.
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