The effects of music-induced emotions on English-Chinese bilinguals' resolution of standing ambiguity
Ho, Sher Min
Date of Issue2011
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Cross-linguistic studies have shown that speakers of different languages have differing strategies in resolving sentences with standing ambiguity (Felser, 2003; Shen, 2006) with most languages preferring NP2 or NP-low attachment (e.g. English, Danish) while some others prefer NP1 or NP-high attachment (e.g. Greek, German). The strategy taken by Chinese speakers remain controversial with some studies showing it to be a NP-low preferring strategy (Shen, 2006) while some others show otherwise (Cai, 2010). The strategies adopted by bilingual speakers have yet to be thoroughly explored. External factors like lexical factors (Felser, 2003) and animacy (Desmet et. al, 2006) are also found to be of influence on speakers’ strategies in resolving these sentences. This study investigates the strategies of English-Chinese bilinguals in their resolution of sentences with standing ambiguity and also the effects of emotional cues on these strategies. 75 English sentences were used in the study with 50 manipulated (BIASED) sentences and 25 neutral (UNBIASED) sentences. The biased sentences are manipulated in a way that adjectives are added to both NP1 and NP2 where the context of attaching the relative clause to NP1 would give rise to a sadder context than when attached to NP2. Since music is proven to have an effect on its listeners’ emotions, whether directly or indirectly (Trainor, 2003; Levinson, 1997), sad music is used to induce sad emotional cues for the context of reading the sentences. 27 English-Chinese bilinguals in Singapore participated in two experiments, 9 in Experiment 1 and the other 18 in Experiment 2. Participants in Experiment 1 rated 75 sentences on a scale of 1 to 7 on how they feel the relative clause should be attached (1: most NP1; 7: most NP2). To eliminate possibility of inherent ‘bias-ness’ in the sentences, the ratings were used for counterbalancing Experiment 2. In Experiment 2, 18 participants were asked to read the sentences with either no music, neutral music or sad music in the background. A question is asked after each sentence regarding the relative clause and responses are recorded through the pressing of number keys on a keyboard.
Final Year Project (FYP)