Syntactic Processing : An Overview book cover
1st Edition

Syntactic Processing
An Overview

  • Available for pre-order on June 30, 2023. Item will ship after July 21, 2023
ISBN 9781032522227
July 21, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
280 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book provides an overview of the structures, topics and main theories of syntactic processing. It covers the last 40 years of sentence-level psycholinguistic research and debates and makes it accessible to both theoretical linguists and experimental psychologists.

Tying linguistically relevant issues to psycholinguistic theory, this book:

  • Covers the processing of the grammatical phenomena adjunction, agreement, and gap filling and discusses the relationship between grammars and parsers
  • Discusses experimental work and theories, demonstrating how psychologists have made real strides in understanding language and how studying the processing of syntactic structure is the same as studying the nature of language
  • Explores the key theories of psycholinguistics, including recent developments
  • Explains the different methodologies of sentence processing such as eye-tracking and electroencephalography

Bridging the gap between psycholinguistic research and the study of language, this book is essential reading for advanced students and scholars of linguistics and experimental psycholinguistics as well as cognitive science and psychology.

Table of Contents


I. Introduction

1.1. Questions

1.2. The functional architecture of the linguistic mind

1.3. Minimal attachment

1.4. Ambiguity resolution and beyond: the oracle component of parsing


II. Modifier adjunction with special reference to relative clauses inside complex NPs

2.1. Introduction: local adjunction

2.2. Relative clause adjunction

2.3. The adjunction of subject relative clauses to complex noun phrases

2.3.1. Computationally cheap trees: The Garden Path model

2.3.2. The role of frequency: Tuning

2.3.3. A refined two-step account: Construal

2.3.4. The role of segmentation, prosody and silent reading: the Implicit Prosody Hypothesis

2.3.5. Going for the meaning directly: The role of lexical semantics, coherence and reference

2.3.6. All at once in one stage: the Constraint Satisfaction Approach

2.3.7. The Unrestricted Race model (URM) and the ambiguity advantage effect (AAE)

2.3.8. Costa and Grillo (2014): the Pseudo Relative confound

2.4. Conclusions


III. Agreement

3.1. Introduction

3.2. Agreement Attraction

3.2.1. Psycholinguistic theories of agreement Maximal Input Marking and Morphing The Cue-based Working Memory Model: retrieval in production The Scope of Planning + Semantic Integration account On morphology Attraction in comprehension

3.3. Agreement in brain waves

3.4. Summing up


IV. Gap filling

4.1. Introduction

4.2. Working memory

4.3. Recent fillers: controlled PRO and gap-driven parsing

4.4. Filler-driven parsing: the Active Filler Strategy

4.5. Scrambling the word order predictability: the Minimal Chain Principle

4.6. Summary and conclusions

4.7. Epilogue, or when gaps are too radical and reference must be explicit: anaphor resolution.


V. On parsers and grammars

5.1. Introduction: on psychological adequacy

5.2. The Separate Grammar Hypothesis: heuristics and good-enough, goal-directed, predictive processing

5.3. The Grammatical Parser Hypothesis: the parser is the grammar

5.4. Grammatical Illusions

5.5. On flexibility and opportunism



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Carlos AcuƱa FariƱa is Full Professor of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. He is the author of top-tier research of both a theoretical kind in linguistics and of an experimental kind in both psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics. The latter has been done using the methodologies of self-paced reading, eye-tracking and electroencephalography and has mostly covered the topics discussed in this book: relative clause adjunction ambiguities, agreement, gap filling and the relationship between grammars and parsers.