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Plausibility and subcategorization preference in children's processing of temporarily ambiguous sentences: Evidence from self-paced reading

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Three self-paced reading experiments investigated children's processing of temporarily ambiguous sentences. Across the three experiments, subcategorization preference of a verb in a subordinate clause and the semantic plausibility of the misanalysis were manipulated. Reading times in the temporarily ambiguous region and following syntactic disambiguation indicated that children in the age range tested (8 years, 11 months to 12 years, 11 months) routinely misanalyse sentences of the type tested, and their tendency to misanalyse the sentences does not depend on the subcategorization preferences of the initial verb. Additional correlational analyses suggested that subcategory information did affect the degree of difficulty that readers experienced processing the critical noun and matrix verb.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2002


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