Constituent Order in Language and Thought: A Case Study in Field-Based Psycholinguistics


Masatoshi Koizumi

Cambridge University Press, 2023

Publisher’s website

About the book: Traditionally, due to the availability of technology, psycholinguistic research has focused mainly on Western languages. However, this focus has recently shifted towards a more diverse range of languages, whose structures often throw into question many previous assumptions in syntactic theory and language processing. Based on a case study in field-based comparative psycholinguistics, this pioneering book is the first to explore the neurocognition of endangered ‘object-before-subject’ languages, such as Kaqchikel and Seediq. It draws on a range of methods – including linguistic fieldwork, theoretical linguistic analysis, corpus research, questionnaire surveys, behavioural experiments, eye tracking, event-related brain potentials, functional magnetic resonance imaging, and near-infrared spectroscopy – to consider preferred constituent orders in both language and thought, examining comprehension as well as production. In doing so, it highlights the importance of field-based cross-linguistic cognitive neuroscientific research in uncovering universal and language-particular aspects of the human language faculty, and the interaction between language and thought.

About the author: Masatoshi Koizumi was a HYI Visiting Scholar from 2017-18.