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Title:Prosody and syntactic processing
Author(s):Lee, Eun Kyung
Director of Research:Watson, Duane G.; Garnsey, Susan M.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Cole, Jennifer S.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Watson, Duane G.; Garnsey, Susan M.; Shih, Chilin
Department / Program:Linguistics
Discipline:Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):prosody
syntactic processing
intonational boundaries
pitch accents
relative clauses
Abstract:This dissertation examines whether and how two main aspects of prosody, intonational phrase boundaries and pitch accents, are used in syntactic processing. Traditionally, it has been argued that while intonational phrase boundaries interact with syntactic structure, pitch accents do not. One apparent exception to this view is work by Schafer, Carter, Clifton, and Frazier (1996) that suggests that pitch accents, like intonational phrase boundaries, play a primary role in attachment ambiguity resolution. Chapter 2 provides empirical evidence that resolves these conflicting views in the literature by examining what factors underlie previously established accent attachment effects. The results from four experiments show that these effects are the result of a post-sentence bias to select salient information as the answer to the post-sentence query rather than the result of a syntactic processing mechanism, suggesting that pitch accents may not directly signal syntactic attachment. Chapters 3 and 4 explore two unanswered questions with respect to the role intonational phrase boundaries play in syntactic processing. Chapter 3 presents three visual world eye-tracking experiments that examine what types of information intonational phrase boundaries provide to the processing system. The findings suggest that intonational phrase boundaries provide information about their local syntactic and semantic context that allows listeners to predict upcoming linguistic structure. Chapter 4 investigates individual differences in the use of intonational phrase boundaries in attachment ambiguity resolution. The results suggest that the listeners’ ability to use boundary information in syntactic processing is positively correlated with working memory capacity. High span listeners are more likely to use boundary information in syntactic ambiguity resolution than low span listeners.
Issue Date:2011-05-25
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/24453
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Eun Kyung Lee
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-25
2013-05-26
Date Deposited:2011-05


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