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ERIC Number: EJ878376
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun
Pages: 30
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0097-8507
Testing Theories of Linguistic Constituency with Configural Learning: The Case of the English Syllable
Kapatsinski, Vsevolod
Language, v85 n2 p248-277 Jun 2009
This article proposes and tests an experimental method to assess the psychological reality of hierarchical theories of constituent structure in particular domains. I show that a hierarchical theory of constituent structure necessarily makes the prediction that an association between constituents should be easier to learn than an association between strings that cross constituent boundaries, whereas dependency-based theories of constituency predict that constituents cannot have associations that their parts do not have. Previous research has shown that the major division within an English syllable is between the onset and the nucleus, rather than between the nucleus and the coda. Thus, the nucleus forms a constituent (the rime) with the coda rather than the onset. The hierarchical theory of constituency thus proposes that English speakers should learn rime-affix associations more easily than body-affix associations and that the rime can have associations that its parts do not have. These predictions are confirmed in the present study. Applications of the experimental method and its variants to linguistic constituency in other domains are discussed.
Linguistic Society of America. 1325 18th Street NW Suite 211, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-835-1714; Fax: 202-835-1717; Web site: http://www.lsadc.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A