Speakers' production patterns can clearly be understood as shaped by the structural properties of their specific language(s), and this is also true in Sasak. However, what about when multiple word orders and voice choices are possible? When languages allow for syntactic options, are there universal non-syntactic constraints that exert influence on the production and syntactic coding choices? This dissertation explores potential universal biases identified in literature that has grown out of Bock and Warren's (1985:50) work on Conceptual Accessibility, or the "ease with which the mental representation of some potential referent can be activated in, or retrieved from, memory". The specific biases examined for Sasak in the current work are Discourse Topicality (Givón, 1983), animacy (Branigan, Pickering, & Tanaka, 2008), and noun phrase length (MacDonald, 2013; Tanaka, Branigan, McLean, & Pickering, 2011). Results of a corpus analysis are combined with data from two production experiments, and show that both animacy and topicality affect voice selection in Sasak. Specifically, [+animate] and [+topical] noun phrases are produced earlier in a sentence, thereby affecting the grammatical voice produced. Also, Sasak speakers exhibit a 'long before short' bias (i.e., placing longer noun phrases before relatively shorter ones in utterances), affecting voice selection as well. Contextualized in cross-linguistic data, this supports the argument made in this dissertation that the cognitive effect of the semantic richness and salience of longer nouns is relative to the speaker's stage in planning and producing an utterance.
Speakers' production patterns can clearly be understood as shaped by the structural properties of their specific language(s), and this is also true in Sasak.