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ERIC Number: EJ874826
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Apr
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Subject Relative Clauses Are Not Universally Easier to Process: Evidence from Basque
Carreiras, Manuel; Dunabeitia, Jon Andoni; Vergara, Marta; de la Cruz-Pavia, Irene; Laka, Itziar
Cognition, v115 n1 p79-92 Apr 2010
Studies from many languages consistently report that subject relative clauses (SR) are easier to process than object relatives (OR). However, Hsiao and Gibson (2003) report an OR preference for Chinese, a finding that has been contested. Here we report faster OR versus SR processing in Basque, an ergative, head-final language with pre-nominal relative clauses. A self-paced reading task was used in Experiments 1 and 2, while ERPs were recorded in Experiment 3. We used relative clauses that were ambiguous between an object or subject-gap interpretation and disambiguated later in the sentence. The results of Experiments 1 and 2 showed that SR took longer to read than OR in the critical disambiguating region. In addition, Experiment 3 showed that SR produced larger amplitudes than OR in the P600 window immediately after reading the critical disambiguating word. Our results suggest that SR are not universally easier to process. They cast doubts on universal hypotheses and suggest that processing complexity may depend on language-specific aspects of grammar. (Contains 6 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A