Sentence comprehension depends on the understanding of both the individual words and their hierarcical relations with other words. So far, researchers have studied sentence processing by using different methods. In this study, sentence comprehension of school-aged children without developmental language disorder were investigated by using eye tracking measure. The data collection tool consists of ten sets of sentences in four different meaning conditions such as literal sense, figurative sense, polysemous sense and technical sense. In each condition the same target word, area of interest, were identified, which make a total of 40 target sentences. In this study, ‘the first fixation duration’, ‘total fixation duration’ and ‘total visit duration’ are used as the metrics of eye tracking data to analyze the processing of different types of Turkish sentences. The results revealed that in TVD and TFD parameters there was significant difference among all 4 categories of meanings. Furthermore, there was significant difference in TVD and TFD parameter among literal and polysemous meaning categories and figurative and polysemous meaning categories. On the contrary there was no significant difference among literal and figurative, literal and technical and figurative and technical meaning categories. The results of this study indicate that different meanings of the same word can cause different processing difficulties. The processing of polysemous meaning takes longer time than processing of literal, figurative and technical meaning. The children have difficulty in making connection between the literal meaning and polysemous meaning. Educators should improve children’s cognitive abilities and help them to create the connection between the literal and polysemous sense. The results suggest that salient meaning is more activated than the less frequent meaning. The results of the study are in consistence with Giora’s Graded Salience Hypothesis revealing that salient meaning is activated faster than the nonsalient meaning.
Online Sentence Processing, Polysemous Meaning, Eye-tracking, Semantics