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Title:The Processing of Conditional Inversion: A Reading Task Study, Part II
Author(s):Kang, Hye-Min; Thompson, Ellen
conditional inversion
subject auxiliary inversion
reading task study
principle of economy
head movement
wrap-up effects
Abstract:This work concerns the on-line processing of the Conditional Inversion Construction (CI) in English. According to the traditional approach to the syntax of Conditional Inversion, this construction involves I-to-C Movement (Iatridou and Embick 1994), identical to the movement involved in Subject-Auxiliary Inversion. However, recent analyses of Conditional Inversion claim that this construction involves raising of I-to-C-to-X, the head of an XP projected above CP (Bjorkman 2011). Assuming that these steps of movement are costly processing-wise, the traditional approach predicts that Conditional Inversion and Subject Auxiliary Inversion are equally costly with regard to their non-inverted structures, while the contemporary analysis predicts that Conditional Inversion is more costly than Subject Auxiliary Inversion with regard to their non-inverted structures. In order to investigate these predictions, we conduct a Self- Paced Reading Task experiment with seven monolingual- English speakers. Subjects are presented with one hundred sentences: fifty experimental and fifty fillers; half of the experimental sentences include CI and the other half includes SAI Constructions. After half of the total sentences, subjects are presented with a comprehension question. Reading times for each sentence are recorded. The result of a paired samples t-test revealed a significant difference in reading times between sentences with CI (M=64.95, SD=22.27) and SAI (M=34.28, SD=5.83), t(7)=4.821, p<0.003. For reading times per character, the difference is .003, which is significant. Assuming that “reading times are reflective of processing difficulty” (Levelt 1989; Rayner and Sereno 1994), the shorter processing time involved in computing SAI as contrasted with CI provides support for the claim that CI involves a more complex operation, which is predicted by Bjorkman’s I-to-C-to-X Analysis.
Issue Date:2013
Publisher:Studies in the Linguistic Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Citation Info:Studies in the Linguistic Sciences: Illinois Working Papers 2013: 162-171
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Peer Reviewed:is peer reviewed
Rights Information:Copyright © 2013 Hye-Min Kang & Ellen Thompson
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-01-01

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