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Lexical chunking effects in syntactic processing

  • Research on syntactic ambiguity resolution in language comprehension has shown that subjects' processing decisions are influenced by a variety of heterogeneous factors such as e.g., syntactic complexity, semantic fit and the discourse frequency of the competing structures. The present paper investigates a further potentially relevant factor in such processes: effects of syntagmatic lexical chunking (or matching to a complex memorized prefab) whose occurrence would be predicted from usage-based assumptions about linguistic categorisation. Focusing on the widely studied so-called DO/SC-ambiguity in which a post-verbal NP is syntactically ambiguous between a direct object and the subject of an embedded clause, potentially biasing collocational chunks of the relevant type are identified in a number of corpus-linguistic pretests and then investigated in a self-paced reading experiment. The results show a significant increase in processing difficulty from a collocationally neutral over a lexically biasing to a strongly biasing condition. This suggests that syntagmatically complex and partially schematic templates of the kind envisioned in usage-based Construction Grammar may impinge on speakers' online processing decisions during sentence comprehension.

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Author:Arne Zeschel
Parent Title (English):Cognitive Linguistics
Publisher:de Gruyter
Place of publication:Berlin (u.a.)
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2008
Date of Publication (online):2015/06/19
Tag:Sentence processing; prefabs; usage-based model
GND Keyword:Disambiguierung; Englisch; Funktionale Grammatik; Kollokation
First Page:427
Last Page:446
Dieser Beitrag ist mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers aufgrund einer (DFG geförderten) Allianz- bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich.
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 430 Deutsch
Open Access?:ja
Linguistics-Classification:Psycholinguistik / Kognitive Linguistik
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Keine kommerzielle Nutzung-Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 Deutschland