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Lecture 6

LING 1P92 Lecture 6: LECUTURE 6

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Lynn Dempsey

LECUTURE 6- UNDERSTANDING LANGUAGE- SENTENCES & DISCOURSE Language Processsing • Sounds • Words ------> Meaning • Phrases • Sentences Sentence Structure Speech is linear: Tom atge fish Basic sentence - 1Clause = NP + VP What is a sentence? • 1 or more proppositions that represent a complete thought • A propsition is a factual thought • Ugly neighbours own dirty cats • 3 propositional thoughts- ugly neighbours, own cats THREE GNEREAL FACTORS AFFECTING SENTENCCE PROCESSING 1. Syntactic structures – need to describe sentences in structural / grammatical terms 2.Parsing strategies – the strategies listeners use to make meaning 3.Memory capacity – how does memory influence comprehension? TREE DIAGRAM • Shows the hierarchical structure of sentences and relationships between constituents in the sentence • Nouns • Adjectives • Verbs • Noun phrases • Verb phrases • Np category can be in multiple places • Similarly, a NP or a VP might contain a PP, which itself will contain a NP • More the hierachy the more linear PARSINF • Parsing- What we do to determine what sentences mean • First see the syntactic component • Assigning words in a sentence to the correct linguistic category • Given a sentence, our first task is to determine the grammatical roles of each word of the sentence • alternatively, we want to identify if the sentence is syntactically correct or incorrect • The process is one of parsing the sentence and breaking the components into categories and subcategories • e.g., the big red ball is a noun phrase, the is an article, big and red are adjectives, ball is a noun • And then generating a parse tree that reflect the parse • Syntactic parsing is computationally complex because words can take on multiple roles • we generally tackle this problem in a bottom-up manner (start with the words) but an alterative is top-down where we start with the grammar and use it to generate the sentence • both forms will result in our parse tree STUDYING SENTENCE PROCESSINNG: AMBIGUOUS SENTENCES • The Old Man The Boats • Think of man as a verb instead of noun • At first we do a first round check to see if the sentence makes sense; if not then try to break it down and try to figure out what can go in • NP= the old MAN • VP- the boats? • NP= The old VP= Man the boats MODELS OF SENTENCE PARSING Garden Path Model Initially we only parse a sentence one way using only syntactic info. go back and try another way only when we realize something is wrong Constraint satisfaction We parse a sentence in both possible ways using multiple sources of info. Only aware of one version If we realize something is wrong we switch our attention to the other interpretation Garden Path Model Minimal attachment Principle • Listeners try to interperst sentences in terms if the simplest grammatical structure • The horse raced past the barn fell. • SVO? • S reduced relative clause V • Must add more words • To try and break it down; reduce the complexity (minimal attachtment) Late Clorsure We "close off" a cluase at the lastest point possible Because Alice always jogs * a mile* we chunk as much of the sentence as possible into the first part (clause) of the sentence 2 ways; chunk words together, or add grammatical catergories AMBIGUITY Natural languages are ambiguous because • words can take on multiple grammatical roles • a LHS non-terminal can be unfolded into multiple RHS rules, for example o S  NP VP | NP VP o NP  Det N | Det N PP o VP  V NP | V NP PP is the PP below attached to the VP (did Susan see a boy who had a telescope?) or the NP (did Susan see the boy by looking through the telescope?) ACTIVITY 1a. Without her contributions the funds are inadequate. 1b. Without her contributions would be inadequate. Participant had to decide whether the sentence was grammatical. For which sentence would participants have faster decision times? Why GARDEN PATH MODEL sentence processing involves the analysis of each individual unit or module of a sentence, with little or no feedback readers only consider initially one syntactic structure for any given sentence and meaning is not involved in the selection of preliminary syntactical meaning EVIDENCE FOR THE GARDEN PATH MODEL Frazier & Rayner (1982): Participants asked to read sentences where late closure doesn’t work A. As soon as he had phoned* his wife* started to prepare for the journey B. As soon as he had phoned* his wife* she started to prepare for the journey. Reading rates were slower for one of these sentences. (A) CONSTRAINT SATISFACTION MODELS More than 1 syntactic analysis of a sentence maybe be generated during sentence processing. Does not mean ALL possible interpretations are generated Only those that seem likely given nonsyntactic info - Semantic info (i.e., the meaning) “constrains” the ways we opt to parse a sentence EVIDENCE FOR CONSTRAINT SATISFACTION =Marslen-Wilson & Tyler (1980) A. The young man grabbed the guitar B. The young man buried the guitar C. The young man drank the guitar D. The young man slept the guitar Participants asked to indicate when they heard the word guitar. For which sentence do you think they were slowest? Why? CONSTRAINTED TO WHAT THEY CAN OR CANNONT HAVE IN THE SENTENCE Ferreria & Clifton (1986) a. The defendant exa
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