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Constituent order and semantic parallelism in online comprehension: eye-tracking evidence from German.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006)
Publication Date
Volume
62
Issue
12
Pages
2338–2371
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/17470210902790070
PMID: 19418379
Source
Medline

Abstract

Reading times for the second conjunct of and-coordinated clauses are faster when the second conjunct parallels the first conjunct in its syntactic or semantic (animacy) structure than when its structure differs (Frazier, Munn, & Clifton, 2000; Frazier, Taft, Roeper, & Clifton, 1984). What remains unclear, however, is the time course of parallelism effects, their scope, and the kinds of linguistic information to which they are sensitive. Findings from the first two eye-tracking experiments revealed incremental constituent order parallelism across the board-both during structural disambiguation (Experiment 1) and in sentences with unambiguously case-marked constituent order (Experiment 2), as well as for both marked and unmarked constituent orders (Experiments 1 and 2). Findings from Experiment 3 revealed effects of both constituent order and subtle semantic (noun phrase similarity) parallelism. Together our findings provide evidence for an across-the-board account of parallelism for processing and-coordinated clauses, in which both constituent order and semantic aspects of representations contribute towards incremental parallelism effects. We discuss our findings in the context of existing findings on parallelism and priming, as well as mechanisms of sentence processing.

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