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ERIC Number: EJ834319
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0749-596X
Conceptual Plural Information Is Used to Guide Early Parsing Decisions: Evidence from Garden-Path Sentences with Reciprocal Verbs
Patson, Nikole D.; Ferreira, Fernanda
Journal of Memory and Language, v60 n4 p464-486 May 2009
In three eyetracking studies, we investigated the role of conceptual plurality in initial parsing decisions in temporarily ambiguous sentences with reciprocal verbs (e.g., "While the lovers kissed the baby played alone"). We varied the subject of the first clause using three types of plural noun phrases: conjoined noun phrases ("the bride and the groom"), plural definite descriptions ("the lovers"), and numerically quantified noun phrases ("the two lovers"). We found no evidence for garden-path effects when the subject was conjoined [Ferreira, F., & McClure, K. K. (1997). "Parsing of garden-path sentences with reciprocal verbs." "Language and Cognitive Processes," 12, 273-306], but traditional garden-path effects were found with the other plural noun phrases. In addition, we tested plural anaphors that had a plural antecedent present in the discourse. We found that when the antecedent was conjoined, garden-path effects were absent compared to cases in which the antecedent was a plural definite description. Our results indicate that the parser is sensitive to the conceptual representation of a plural constituent. In particular, it appears that a Complex Reference Object [Moxey, L. M., Sanford, A. J., Sturt, P., & Morrow, L. I. (2004). "Constrains on the formation of plural reference objects: The influence of role, conjunction, and type of description." "Journal of Memory and Language," 51, 346-364] automatically activates a reciprocal reading of a reciprocal verb. (Contains 11 tables.)
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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