Agent-first and pivot-second constraint effects in the online sentence processing of Tagalog flexible word order
Ivan Bondoc & Amy J. Schafer
Date of publication:
December 31, 2023
Multiple explanatory accounts of Tagalog word-order preferences have been proposed in the literature. We report three psycholinguistic experiments that investigate on-line comprehension patterns in Tagalog to illustrate the strength and consistency of two grammatical constraints in sentence processing (Bondoc and Schafer, 2022): a tendency for the agent to be placed in the first argument position (agent-first), and for the syntactically prominent argument (the pivot) to be placed in the second argument position (pivot-second). Our results show significant effects of these two constraints in the moment-by-moment reading of sentences, and also that their effects shift across measures and tasks. These outcomes contribute to the evidence of agent-first and pivotsecond constraints influencing Tagalog word-order preferences and highlight their critical role in cognition and in Tagalog sentence processing.