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The influence of only on syntactic processing of "long" relative clause sentences

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We report an eye movement experiment investigating the influence of the focus operator only on syntactic processing of "long" relative clause sentences. Paterson, Liversedge, and Underwood (1999) found that readers were garden pathed by "short" reduced relative clause sentences containing the focus operator only. They argued that due to thematic differences between "short" and "long" relative clause sentences, garden path effect might not occur when "long" reduced relative clause sentences are read. Eye-tracking data show that garden path effects found during initial processing of the disambiguating verb of "long" reduced sentences without only were absent or delayed in the case of counterparts with only. We discuss our results in terms of current theories of sentence processing.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02724980143000253

Publication date: February 1, 2002

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