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ERIC Number: EJ1005696
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0749-596X
Expectation and Locality Effects in German Verb-Final Structures
Levy, Roger P.; Keller, Frank
Journal of Memory and Language, v68 n2 p199-222 Feb 2013
Probabilistic expectations and memory limitations are central factors governing the real-time comprehension of natural language, but how the two factors interact remains poorly understood. One respect in which the two factors have come into theoretical conflict is the documentation of both "locality" effects, in which having more dependents preceding a governing verb increases processing difficulty at the verb, and "anti-locality" effects, in which having more preceding dependents facilitates processing at the verb. However, no controlled study has previously demonstrated both locality and anti-locality effects in the same type of dependency relation within the same language. Additionally, many previous demonstrations of anti-locality effects have been potentially confounded with lexical identity, plausibility, and sentence position. Here, we provide new evidence of both locality and anti-locality effects in the same type of dependency relation in a single language--verb-final constructions in German--while controlling for lexical identity, plausibility, and sentence position. In main clauses, we find clear anti-locality effects, with the presence of a preceding dative argument facilitating processing at the final verb; in subject-extracted relative clauses with identical linear ordering of verbal dependents, we find both anti-locality and locality effects, with processing facilitated when the verb is preceded by a dative argument alone, but hindered when the verb is preceded by both the dative argument and an adjunct. These results indicate that both expectations and memory limitations need to be accounted for in any complete theory of online syntactic comprehension. (Contains 9 tables and 4 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A