Processing Coordination Ambiguity

Engelhardt, Paul and Ferreira, Fernanda (2010) Processing Coordination Ambiguity. Language and Speech, 53 (4). pp. 494-509. ISSN 0023-8309

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We examined temporarily ambiguous coordination structures such as put the butter in the bowl and the pan on the towel. Minimal Attachment predicts that the ambiguous noun phrase the pan will be interpreted as a noun-phrase coordination structure because it is syntactically simpler than clausal coordination. Constraint-based theories assume that interpretations are the result of a constraint-satisfaction process, which predicts that frequency or context can bias the parser to initially pursue a more complex interpretation. The results showed an initial preference for noun-phrase coordination, despite the fact that sentential coordination is more frequent in imperative structures. These data suggest that the parser uses a syntactic simplicity heuristic for building initial structural analyses.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Coordination ambiguity, eye movements, language comprehension, syntactic ambiguity resolution, visual world paradigm
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2011 10:58
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 22:30

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