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ERIC Number: EJ1118831
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Dec
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0090-6905
Gleaning Structure from Sound: The Role of Prosodic Contrast in Learning Non-Adjacent Dependencies
Grama, Ileana C.; Kerkhoff, Annemarie; Wijnen, Frank
Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, v45 n6 p1427-1449 Dec 2016
The ability to detect non-adjacent dependencies (i.e. between "a" and "b" in "aXb") in spoken input may support the acquisition of morpho-syntactic dependencies (e.g. "The princess 'is' kiss'ing' the frog"). Functional morphemes in morpho-syntactic dependencies are often marked by perceptual cues that render them distinct from lexical elements. We use an artificial grammar learning experiment with adults to investigate the role of perceptual cues in non-adjacent dependency learning, by manipulating the perceptual/prosodic properties of the "a/b" elements in "aXb" strings and testing participants' incidental learning of these dependencies. Our results show that non-adjacent dependencies are learned both when the dependent elements are perceptually prominent, "and" when they are perceptually reduced compared to the intervening material (in the same way that functional words are reduced compared to lexical words), but only if integrated into a natural prosodic contour. This result supports the idea that the prosodic properties of natural languages facilitate non-adjacent dependency learning.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A