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開催日 2014/9/12
時間 10:00 - 11:00
会場 Room H(304)
Chairperson(s) 酒井 邦嘉 / Kuniyoshi L. Sakai (東京大学大学院総合文化研究科 / Dapartment of Basic Science, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Japan)
松本 理器 / Riki Matsumoto (京都大学大学院医学研究科 てんかん・運動異常生理学講座 / Department of Epilepsy, Movement Disorders and Physiology, Kyoto University, Japan)

An fMRI study in Kaqchikel Maya for the effect of scrambled sentences

  • O2-H-2-1
  • 太田 真理 / Shinri Ohta:1,2 小泉 政利 / Masatoshi Koizumi:3 酒井 邦嘉 / Kuniyoshi L. Sakai:1,2 
  • 1:東京大院・総合文化・相関基礎 / Dept. of Basic Sci., Univ. of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan 2:CREST・JST / CREST, JST, Tokyo, Japan 3:東北大院・文学・言語学 / Dept. of Ling., Tohoku U., Miyagi, Japan 

In the present study, we targeted Kaqchikel, a Mayan language spoken in Guatemala, in which subjects and objects are unmarked, while person (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and number (singular and plural) agreement for both objects and subjects are obligatorily expressed on a verb. Kaqchikel allows various scrambled word orders, such as SVO, VSO, and OVS, which are all grammatical. We hypothesize that activations in the left inferior frontal gyrus (L. IFG) are more enhanced for OVS than SVO, as well as for VSO than SVO, which should be observed by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). As Kaqchikel is typologically differed from other well-studied languages, this study would be ideal to examine the universal role of the L. IFG in syntactic processing.
We recruited eight right-handed native Kaqchikel speakers (aged 22-38), whose linguistic knowledge included the agreement markers on the verb, as confirmed by a discrimination test. We used a picture-sentence matching task, in which the participants listened to a sentence [Ri säq xeroyoj ri taq käq, The white (person) called the red (persons)] and judged whether the action depicted in a picture matched the meaning of the sentence. We used 3.0 T MRI system (Signa HDxt, GE Healthcare), and analyzed the fMRI data with fixed effects analyses.
The accuracy for OVS were significantly lower than that for VSO and SVO, and the reaction times for OVS and VSO were significantly longer than that for SVO (p ≤ 0.002), indicating that OVS and VSO were more demanding word orders. To exclude any general effects due to task difficulty, the accuracy was used as a nuisance variable for the fMRI analyses. To examine the effect of scrambling between word orders with a verb in the middle position (OVS and SVO), we tested the OVS – SVO contrast, which resulted in localized activation in the L. IFG and lateral premotor cortex (L. LPMC) (corrected p < 0.05). Moreover, we tested the most stringent contrast of VSO – SVO. We found clearly localized activation in the L. IFG, suggesting that VSO has more complex syntactic structures than SVO. The modulation of activations in the L. IFG and the L. LPMC thus indicates a sensitive indicator of word orders in any natural languages.

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