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2022 | 83 | 2 | 83-102

Article title

Who is likely to be rementioned? An experimental study of implicit causality bias in Croatian



Title variants

Koga će se vjerojatno spomenuti? Eksperimentalno istraživanje implicitnouzročne pristranosti u hrvatskom jeziku

Languages of publication



Implicit causality (IC) verbs influence the pronoun ambiguity resolution by directing the speakers’ (readers’ or listeners’) attention to the referent that is likely to be the cause of the event or state. Although IC bias is considered universal, there are cross-linguistic differences in its direction and strength. Previous studies have attempted to build large datasets of IC verbs, but very few Slavic languages have been investigated. In this experimental study, we examined the direction and strength of IC bias in Croatian, an understudied Slavic language in this regard, and compared it with IC bias observed in English. After selecting 137 verbs and classifying them according to thematic roles (agent-patient, agent-evocator, stimulus-experiencer, experiencer-stimulus), 86 participants were asked to complete sentence fragments containing these verbs. The study was conducted under the semantic structure account. Our results show that most Croatian verbs followed the predicted direction, which is consistent with findings suggesting that the direction of IC bias is relatively generalizable across languages. We also detected cross-linguistic variability in the strength of IC bias, especially in stimulus-experiencer verbs. This is consistent with studies showing that the strength of IC bias can vary across languages. Implications for theoretical and methodological approaches are discussed.


  • Slovo a slovesnost, redakce, Ústav pro jazyk český AV ČR, v.v.i., Letenská 4, 118 51 Praha 1, Czech Republic
  • Slovo a slovesnost, redakce, Ústav pro jazyk český AV ČR, v.v.i., Letenská 4, 118 51 Praha 1, Czech Republic


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