Who's the Subject? Sentence Structure and Verb Meaning

Cynthia Fisher, Hyun Joo Song

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter argues that once children can identify the subject of a multiargument sentence as structurally prominent, they could assign a default interpretation to sentences containing a novel verb by assuming that the subject referent plays a semantically prominent role in the conceptual relation named by the verb. What counts as prominent will be determined by the situation and by the multidimensional attentional and representational biases of human perceivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAction Meets Word
Subtitle of host publicationHow Children Learn Verbs
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199893300
ISBN (Print)0195170008, 9780195170009
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010


  • Multiargument sentence
  • Novel verb
  • Sentence structure
  • Subject
  • Verb meaning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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