Grammar and Parsing: A Typological Investigation of Relative-Clause Processing

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/193840
Title:
Grammar and Parsing: A Typological Investigation of Relative-Clause Processing
Author:
Lin, Chien-Jer Charles
Issue Date:
2006
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This dissertation investigates the role of grammar and parsing in processing relative clauses across languages. A parsing theory called the Incremental Minimalist Parser (IMP), which parses sentences incrementally from left to right, is sketched based on the Minimalist Program (Chomsky, 2001, 2005). We provide sentence processing evidence which supported a universal parsing theory that is structure-based. According to IMP (and other structure-based theories), a gap located at the subject position is more easily accessed than a gap located at the object position in both head-initial (e.g. English) and head-final (e.g. Mandarin) relative clauses. Experiment 1 (self-paced reading tasks) showed a processing advantage for Mandarin relative clauses that involved subject extractions over object extractions, consistent with the universal subject preference found in all other languages. Experiments 2 to 4 (naturalness ratings, paraphrasing tasks, and self-paced reading tasks) focused on possessor relative clauses. When the possessor gap was located at the subject position (i.e. in passives), a possessive relation was easier to construct than when the gap was located at an object position (i.e. in canonical constructions and sentences involving BA). The results of Experiments 1-4 suggested that processing accounts based on locality and canonicity, but not on syntactic structure, cannot account for the processing preferences of filler-gap relations in relative clauses. Experiment 5 (self-paced reading tasks) investigated whether the surface NVN sequence of relative clauses at sentence-initial positions induced garden path, and whether the animacy of the first noun in such sequences could rescue the garden path. Mandarin relative clauses involving topicalization of the embedded object were investigated. The results suggested that the surface NVN sequence did induce main-clause misanalysis (as Subject-Verb-Object). Even when the first noun was (semantically) an unlikely agent, the parser took it as a subject in the initial syntactic analysis. Semantics did not have an immediate effect on syntactic processing.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
sentence comprehension; processing; parsing; relative clause
Degree Name:
PhD
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Anthropology & Linguistics; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Committee Chair:
Bever, Thomas G.; Hill, Jane H.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleGrammar and Parsing: A Typological Investigation of Relative-Clause Processingen_US
dc.creatorLin, Chien-Jer Charlesen_US
dc.contributor.authorLin, Chien-Jer Charlesen_US
dc.date.issued2006en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation investigates the role of grammar and parsing in processing relative clauses across languages. A parsing theory called the Incremental Minimalist Parser (IMP), which parses sentences incrementally from left to right, is sketched based on the Minimalist Program (Chomsky, 2001, 2005). We provide sentence processing evidence which supported a universal parsing theory that is structure-based. According to IMP (and other structure-based theories), a gap located at the subject position is more easily accessed than a gap located at the object position in both head-initial (e.g. English) and head-final (e.g. Mandarin) relative clauses. Experiment 1 (self-paced reading tasks) showed a processing advantage for Mandarin relative clauses that involved subject extractions over object extractions, consistent with the universal subject preference found in all other languages. Experiments 2 to 4 (naturalness ratings, paraphrasing tasks, and self-paced reading tasks) focused on possessor relative clauses. When the possessor gap was located at the subject position (i.e. in passives), a possessive relation was easier to construct than when the gap was located at an object position (i.e. in canonical constructions and sentences involving BA). The results of Experiments 1-4 suggested that processing accounts based on locality and canonicity, but not on syntactic structure, cannot account for the processing preferences of filler-gap relations in relative clauses. Experiment 5 (self-paced reading tasks) investigated whether the surface NVN sequence of relative clauses at sentence-initial positions induced garden path, and whether the animacy of the first noun in such sequences could rescue the garden path. Mandarin relative clauses involving topicalization of the embedded object were investigated. The results suggested that the surface NVN sequence did induce main-clause misanalysis (as Subject-Verb-Object). Even when the first noun was (semantically) an unlikely agent, the parser took it as a subject in the initial syntactic analysis. Semantics did not have an immediate effect on syntactic processing.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectsentence comprehensionen_US
dc.subjectprocessingen_US
dc.subjectparsingen_US
dc.subjectrelative clauseen_US
thesis.degree.namePhDen_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineAnthropology & Linguisticsen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.chairBever, Thomas G.en_US
dc.contributor.chairHill, Jane H.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHarley, Heidi B.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberFong, Sandiwayen_US
dc.identifier.proquest1541en_US
dc.identifier.oclc137356410en_US
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