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Embedding epistemic modals in English: A corpus-based study
A corpus study on the distribution of epistemic modals, targeted at the question of whether such modals do or do not contribute to the content of their sentences.
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Lingering effects of disfluent material on the comprehension of garden path sentences
Do we experience garden path effects when a disfluent speaker replaces one verb with another (as in "chosen, uh, I mean selected") and only one of the two yields the garden-path ambiguity?
In two experiments, we tested for lingering effects of verb replacement disﬂuencies on the processing of garden path sentences that exhibit the main verb/reduced relative (MV/RR) ambiguity. Participants heard sentences with revisions like "The little girl chosen, uh, selected for the role celebrated with her parents and friends." We found that the syntactic ambiguity associated with the reparandum verb involved in the disﬂuency (here "chosen") had an inﬂuence on later parsing: Garden path sentences that included such revisions were more likely to be judged grammatical if the reparandum verb was structurally unambiguous. Conversely, ambiguous non-garden path sentences were more likely to be judged ungrammatical if the structurally unambiguous disﬂuency verb was inconsistent with the ﬁnal reading. Results support a model of disﬂuency processing in which the syntactic frame associated with the replacement verb ‘‘overlays’’ the previous verb’s structure rather than actively deleting the already-built tree.
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The role of temporal predictability in semantic expectation: An MEG investigation
Is prediction of an upcoming item improved when its timing is predictable? Maybe yes for vision and audition, but evidently no for language, argue Ellen Lau and Elizabeth Nguyen.
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