Bilingual Sentence Processing: Relative Clause Attachment in by Eva M. Fernández

By Eva M. Fernández

The cross-linguistic transformations documented in experiences of relative clause attachment supply a useful chance to ascertain a specific point of bilingual sentence processing: Do bilinguals method their languages as though they have been monolingual audio system of every? This quantity presents a assessment of latest examine on relative clause attachment, exhibiting that audio system of languages like English connect relative clauses another way than do audio system of languages like Spanish. Fern ndez stories the findings of an research with monolinguals and bilinguals, established utilizing speeded ("on-line") and unspeeded ("off-line") method, with fabrics in either English and Spanish. The experiments demonstrate similarities around the teams whilst the strategy is speeded, yet variations with unspeeded questionnaires: The monolinguals mirror the normal cross-linguistic changes, whereas bilinguals have language-independent personal tastes made up our minds through language dominance - bilinguals procedure stimuli in both in their languages in line with the overall personal tastes of monolinguals in their dominant language.

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Extra info for Bilingual Sentence Processing: Relative Clause Attachment in English and Spanish

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The doctor called in / the son of the nurse / who hurt herself. Attachment of the RC is forced here by use of gender-speciªc re¶exive pronouns that may be coindexed with either N1 (7a) or N2 (7b) noun. This is therefore a case where other things are not equal, because only one grammatical interpretation exists for each sentence. Reading times for the critical ªnal frame were found to be longer with sentences forcing high attachment, like (7a), than with sentences forcing low attachment, like (7b).

Finally, this study is informative on the role played by post-syntactic factors in the ultimate interpretation of the RC attachment ambiguity. It does not, however, provide insight regarding the initial preferences for the diŸerent item types at the earliest phases of processing, before extra-syntactic constructs play any role (this criticism is raised by Mitchell, Cuetos, Corley & Brysbaert, 1995). To explore this question, one must elicit data on RC attachment preferences using tasks tapping early phases of processing.

The “gluing” eŸects discussed in Fodor, 1998). Fodor (2001; see also Fodor, 2000; Quinn, Abdelghany & Fodor, 2000) has formulated the Implicit Prosody Hypothesis (IPH), according to which the default prosodic contour projected during silent reading in¶uences ambiguity resolution: the parser will prefer the analysis associated with the most natural prosodic contour for the construction. 27 Fodor’s proposal that prosodic segmentation may interact with syntactic attachment decisions makes intuitively correct predictions for a number of other phenomena previously accounted for by invoking the Late Closure principle.

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