Basic grammatical categories may carry social meaning irrespective of their semantic content. In a set of four studies, we demonstrate that verbs – a basic linguistic category present and distinguishable in most languages – are related to the perception of social agency, a fundamental dimension in social perception. In an archival analyses on actual language use in Polish and German, we found that targets typically associated with high social agency (men and young people) are presented in the immediate neighborhood of a verb more often than non-agentic social targets (women and old people). Moreover, in three experiments using a pseudo-word paradigm, we show that verbs (but not adjectives and nouns) are associated with social agency (but not communion). These results provide consistent evidence that verbs, as grammatical vehicles of action, are linguistic markers of social agency. In demonstrating meta-semantic effects of language, these studies corroborate the view of language as a social tool and of language as an integral part of social perception.

Verbs as Linguistic Markers of Social Agency - The Social Side of Grammar

SUITNER, CATERINA;MAASS, ANNE
In corso di stampa

Abstract

Basic grammatical categories may carry social meaning irrespective of their semantic content. In a set of four studies, we demonstrate that verbs – a basic linguistic category present and distinguishable in most languages – are related to the perception of social agency, a fundamental dimension in social perception. In an archival analyses on actual language use in Polish and German, we found that targets typically associated with high social agency (men and young people) are presented in the immediate neighborhood of a verb more often than non-agentic social targets (women and old people). Moreover, in three experiments using a pseudo-word paradigm, we show that verbs (but not adjectives and nouns) are associated with social agency (but not communion). These results provide consistent evidence that verbs, as grammatical vehicles of action, are linguistic markers of social agency. In demonstrating meta-semantic effects of language, these studies corroborate the view of language as a social tool and of language as an integral part of social perception.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3198857
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social impact