The effects of word order and postposition upon memory representation of sentences
activation model of memory
The purpose of this study was to investigate how the memory representation of sentence is affected by the syntactic factors of sentence, using subject-object-verb (SOV) sentences and object-subject-verb (OSV) sentences. In Experiment I, either subject nouns or object nouns were provided as retrieval cues for recall of sentences. The results indicated that the object nouns were more effective cues than the subject nouns in OSV sentences while no differences were observed in SOV sentences. In Experiment II, the types of postposition ("wa" and "ga"), in addition to the word order of sentences, were varied, and the relative frequency with which the subject noun and object noun occurred as the free-association response to stimulus word was taken as the measure. The results indicated that the first noun of the sentence was more frequently elicited than the second one in both SOV and OSV sentences. The results of these two experiments were interpreted as showing that the first word of the sentence produced more stronger trace in memory representation than other components of the sentence, and were discussed in terms of activation model of semantic memory.