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Seeing events vs. entities: The processing advantage of Pseudo Relatives over Relative Clauses

Pozniak, C; Hemforth, B; Haendler, Y; Santi, A; Grillo, N; (2019) Seeing events vs. entities: The processing advantage of Pseudo Relatives over Relative Clauses. Journal of Memory and Language , 107 pp. 128-151. 10.1016/j.jml.2019.04.001.

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Abstract

We present the results of three online questionnaires (one attachment preference study and two acceptability judgments) and two eye-tracking studies in French and English, investigating the resolution of the ambiguity between pseudo relative and relative clause interpretations. This structural and interpretive ambiguity has recently been shown to play a central role in the explanation of apparent cross-linguistic asymmetries in relative clause attachment (Grillo & Costa, 2014; Grillo et al., 2015). This literature has argued that pseudo relatives are preferred to relative clauses because of their structural and interpretive simplicity. This paper adds to this growing body of literature in two ways. First we show that, in contrast to previous findings, French speakers prefer to attach relative clauses to the most local antecedent once pseudo relative availability is controlled for. We then provide direct support for the pseudo relative preference: grammatically forced disambiguation to a relative clause interpretation leads to degraded acceptability and greater processing cost in a pseudo relative environment than maintaining compatibility with a pseudo relative.

Type: Article
Title: Seeing events vs. entities: The processing advantage of Pseudo Relatives over Relative Clauses
DOI: 10.1016/j.jml.2019.04.001
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2019.04.001
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Universality of Parsing Principles, Ambiguity Resolution, Economy of Computation, Locality, Attachment Preferences, (Pseudo)Relative Clauses
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10072172
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