Use of Verb Information in Syntactic Parsing: Evidence From Eye Movements and Word-by-Word Self-Pace...
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Use of Verb Information in Syntactic Parsing: Evidence From Eye Movements and Word-by-Word Self-Paced Reading. Ferreira and Henderson (1990). Sentence processing models.

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Ferreira and Henderson (1990)

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Ferreira and henderson 1990

Use of Verb Information in Syntactic Parsing: Evidence From Eye Movements and Word-by-Word Self-Paced Reading

Ferreira and Henderson (1990)


Sentence processing models

Sentence processing models

  • Interactive model: All sorts of information (lexical, syntactic, semantic) communicate in an unconstrained fashion to produce the most plausible reading at the earliest stages of sentence comprehension


Sentence processing models cont

Sentence Processing Models cont.

  • Garden Path Model: Distinct modules within the language system. Communication occurs, but in a constrained fashion.

  • Minimal Attachment Principle: Sentences initially receive the simplest syntactic analysis possible


Research questions

Research Questions

  • Does verb information aid readers in their initial parsing of temporarily ambiguous sentences?

  • Can verb subcategorization override minimal attachment?


Methodology

Methodology

  • Experiment 1: Eyetracking

  • Experiment 2: noncumulative word-by-word self-paced paradigm

  • Experiment 3: cumulative word-by-word self-paced paradigm


Experiment 1

Experiment 1

  • Subjects: 12 members of University of Massachusetts community

  • Materials: four lists of 80 experimental items and 72 fillers

  • Factors: verb bias, presence of complementizer


Verb types

Verb Types

  • Minimal Attachment Verbs: Strongly biased for a minimal attachment of the ambiguous noun phrase, e.g. guess

  • Nonminimal Attachment Verbs: Strongly biased for a nonminimal interpretation of the ambiguous noun phrase, e.g. brag


Sentence frames

Sentence Frames


Results first fixation duration

Results-First Fixation Duration


Total reading time

Total Reading Time


Regressions

Regressions

  • Verb bias had effect on regressions to the disambiguating region.

  • Reanalysis appeared to be easier with nonminimal attachment verbs

    (4 vs. 21 regressions)


Experiment 2

Experiment 2

  • Self-paced reading task (non-cumulative)

  • Subjects: 24 University of Alberta undergraduates

  • Materials: Same as Experiment 1


Results mean reading times

Results- Mean Reading Times


Experiment 3

Experiment 3

  • Same as Experiment 2, but with a cumulative self-paced reading task

    (allows reader to reread)


Results mean total reading time

Results –Mean Total Reading Time


Discussion

Discussion

  • Expt. 1 : Verb bias did not prevent misanalysis, but seemed to facilitate reanalysis

  • Expt. 2: Robust effect of verb bias on postdisambiguating region (less total reading times) → verb bias aids reanalysis

  • Expt. 3: weaker effects (methodological issues)


Ferreira and henderson 1990

SO…

  • The fact that sentences lacking a complementizer are harder to process regardless of verb bias supports the garden-path model!


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