The on-line resolution of the sentence complement/relative clause ambiguity: evidence from Spanish.
Journal - Experimental psychology (Germany )
Two self-paced reading experiments investigated syntactic ambiguity resolution in Spanish. The experiments examined the way in which Spanish subjects initially interpret sentences that are temporarily ambiguous between a sentence complement and a relative clause interpretation. Experiment 1 examined whether the sentence complement preference found in English is observed in Spanish speaking subjects. In Experiment 2, verbal mood was manipulated in order to study the influence of verb-specific information on sentence processing. Since subcategorization for a subjunctive complement clause is generally assumed to be a lexical property of some verbs, the manipulation of the mood of the embedded verb affords us an interesting and novel way to examine the influence of lexical information on syntactic ambiguity resolution. Experiment 1 showed that Spanish speakers initially interpret the ambiguous that-clause as a sentence complement. Experiment 2 showed that verb-specific information, in particular, the information that specificies that a verb subcategorizes for a subjunctive complement, is accessed and used rapidly and affects the ambiguity resolution process. The results are discussed in relation to current models of sentence processing.
|ISSN : ||1618-3169|
|Mesh Heading : ||Humans Language Random Allocation Semantics|
|Mesh Heading Relevant : ||Linguistics|
Identifying the null subject: evidence from event-related brain potentials.
Journal - Journal of psycholinguistic research (UNITED STATES )
Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded during spoken language comprehension to study the on-line effects of gender agreement violations in controlled infinitival complements. Spanish sentences were constructed in which the complement clause contained a predicate adjective marked for syntactic gender. By manipulating the gender of the antecedent (i.e., the controller) of the implicit subject while holding constant the gender of the adjective, pairs of grammatical and ungrammatical sentences were created. The detection of such a gender agreement violation would indicate that the parser had established the coreference relation between the null subject and its antecedent. The results showed a complex biphasic ERP (i.e., an early negativity with prominence at anterior and central sites, followed by a centroparietal positivity) in the violating condition as compared to the non-violating conditions. The brain reacts to NP-adjective gender agreement violations within a few hundred milliseconds of their occurrence. The data imply that the parser has properly coindexed the null subject of an infinitive clause with its antecedent.
|ISSN : ||0090-6905|
|Mesh Heading : ||Adult Brain Electroencephalography Female Humans Language Male Speech Perception physiology|
|Mesh Heading Relevant : ||Evoked Potentials physiology|