Reading sentences with a late closure ambiguity: does semantic information help?

Journal article


Lipka, Sigrid 2002. Reading sentences with a late closure ambiguity: does semantic information help? Language and Cognitive Processes. https://doi.org/10.1080/01690960143000029
AuthorsLipka, Sigrid
Abstract

Stowe (1989) reported that semantic information eliminates garden paths in sentences with the direct-object vs. subject ambiguity, such as Even before the police stopped the driver was very frightened. Three experiments are presented which addressed some methodological problems in Stowe's study. Experiment 1, using a word-by-word, self-paced reading task with grammaticality judgements, manipulated animacy of the first subject noun while controlling for the plausibility of the transitive action. The results suggest that initial sentence analysis is not guided by animacy. Experiment 2 and 3, using the self-paced task with grammaticality judgements and eye-tracking, varied the plausibility of the direct-object nouns to test revision effects. Plausibility was found to facilitate revision without fully eliminating garden paths, in line with various revision models. The findings support the view of a sentence processing system relying heavily on syntactic information, with semantic information playing a weaker role both in initial analysis and during revision, thus supporting serial, syntax-first models and ranked-parallel models relying on structural criteria.

Year2002
JournalLanguage and Cognitive Processes
ISSN0169-0965
1464-0732
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/01690960143000029
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/294334
hdl:10545/294334
Publication dates2002
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Deposited21 Jun 2013, 15:37
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ContributorsUniversity of Derby
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