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Chapter 10

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McGill University
PSYC 340
Debra Ann Titone

Chapter Ten: Verb’s argument structure: set of possible themes associated with a verb. Parsing: analyzing the grammatical structure of a sentence. Important step in parsing: to determine the subject of the sentence. - first step in parsing, to determine syntactic category to which each word in the sentence belongs. - - goal of sentence interpretation is to assign thematic roles to words in the sentence being processed - autonomous models: initial stage of parsing can only use syntactic information to construct a syntactic representation. In one-stage models, syntactic and semantic info both used to construct the syntactic representation. In two-stage models, first stage invariably seen as autonomous stage of syntactic processing. - interactive models: other sources of information can influence the syntactic processor at any early stage Dealing with structural ambiguity - bracketing ambiguity - structural ambiguities are more complex - we spend longer reading the ambiguous regions of sentences than the unambiguous regions of control sentences but we often spend longer in reading the disambiguation region - serial autonomous model: if the first representation does not make sense we go back and try again - parallel autonomous model: seek all representations at the same time - reduced relative: a relative clause that has been reduced by removing the relative pronoun and “was” - relative clause: modifies the main noun and it is reduced because it lacks the relative pronoun “which” or “that” - deletion of the complementizer “that” can also produce misleading results - appropriate punctuation such as commas can reduce but not obliterate the magnitude of the garden path by enhancing the readers awareness of the phrasal structure - according to the serial autonomy model we experience the garden path effect because the single syntactic representation we are constructing on syntactic grounds turns out to be incorrect - according to the interactive model various sources of information support the analysis more than its alternative Early work on Parsing - - derivation theory of complexity: the more complex the formal syntactic derivation of a sentence the more complex the psychological processing necessary to understand or produce it - principle of autonomy syntax: takes Chomsky’s assertion that syntactic rules should be specified independently of other constraints further to mean that syntactic processes operate independently of other ones - obligatory transformations were those without which the sentence would be ungrammatical - kernel sentences are those to which only obligatory transformations have been applied - the time it took to detransform sentences with transformations back to the kernel was linearly related to the number of transformations in them - a reversible passive is one where the subject and object of the sentence can be reverse and the sentence still makes pragmatic sense - linguistic theories describe our linguistic competence rather than performance - it is easiest to recall words from within the clause currently being processed independent from the number of words in the clause - click displacement technique: major processing units resist interruption. We finish what we are doing, then process other material at first suitable opportunity. - clicks should appear to migrate according to the listener’s reports - participants still placed the non-existent clicks at constituent boundaries - people make anticipatory eye movements towards probable upcoming objects - when we see or hear a determiner such as “the” or “a” we know a noun phrase has just started - Wingfield, Klein: size of migration effect reduced if participants can point ot places in the sentences on a visual display at the same time as they hear them. - parsing is top-down except when a conjunction (such as and) is encountered. Means we start from the sentence node, predict constituents. Processor employs limited lookahead of one or two words. - Kimball’s principles: - right association: new words are preferentially attached to the lowest possible node in the structure constructed so far - new nodes: function words signal a new phrase - processors can only cope with nodes as
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