ERIC Number: ED115131
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1975-May-3
Reference Count: N/A
Surface Syntactic Structures and Linguistic Memory: Some Experimental Evidence. San Jose State Occasional Papers in Linguistics, Vol. 1.
Iannucci, David; Dodd, David
This paper describes and gives the results of a psycholinguistic experiment investigating the impact of certain surface syntactic structures on the perception and memory of language. The basic assumption is that the content of an utterance must be its most salient aspect in memory. The for of an utterance, its surface grammar and phonology, must have some salience for memory, especially short-term, but nothing like that of content. Amy meaningful grammatical distinctions of markers should, therefore, be more salient in memory than meaningless ones. This experiment focuses exclusively on different varieties of one surface distinction: sentences whose underlying predicate surfaces as a verb versus those where the same predicate surfaces as some nominalization of that verb. The experiment consisted of administering to the subjects pairs of synonymous sentences, differing in the above manner and referred to as Critical Pairs (CP's), and five other types of sentences, included for comparing recognition performance on CP's to performance on other kinds of linguistic memory. The conclusion is that the surface syntactic differences manipulated here have little, if any, salience for memory, and that it is unlikely for such surface differences to have any semantic consequence. Such conclusions, however, do not necessarily generalize to other surface features. (Author/TL)
Descriptors: Deep Structure, Grammar, Language Research, Linguistics, Memory, Nouns, Psycholinguistics, Recall (Psychology), Retention (Psychology), Semantics, Sentence Structure, Surface Structure, Syntax, Transformational Generative Grammar, Verbs
Linguistics Program, San Jose State University, San Jose, California 95192 ($4.00 per volume)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: San Jose State Univ., CA.