Processing long-distance dependencies: an experimental investigation of grammatical illusions in English and Spanish

  1. Iria de Dios Flores
Supervised by:
  1. Juan Carlos Acuña Fariña Director
  2. Manuel Francisco Carreiras Valiña Director

Defence university: Universidade de Santiago de Compostela

Year of defence: 2021

Committee:
  1. Isabel Fraga Carou Chair
  2. María Sol Lago Huvelle Secretary
  3. Brian William Dillon Committee member

Type: Thesis

Abstract

A central concern in the study of sentence comprehension has to do with defining the role that grammatical information plays during the incremental interpretation of language. In order to successfully achieve the complex task of understanding a linguistic message, the language comprehension system (the parser) must – among other things – be able to resolve the wide variety of relations that are established between the different parts of a sentence. These relations are known as linguistic dependencies. Linguistic dependencies are subject to a diverse range of grammatical constraints (e.g. syntactic, morphological, lexical, etc.), and how these constraints are implemented in real-time comprehension is one of the fundamental questions in psycholinguistic research. In this quest, the focus has been often placed on studying the sensitivity that language users exhibit to grammatical contrasts during sentence processing. The grammatical richness with which the parser seems to operate makes it even more interesting when the results of sentence processing do not converge with the constraints of the grammar. Misalignments between grammar and parsing provide a unique window into the principles that guide language comprehension, and their study has generated a fruitful research program.