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Title:Toward a prenominal syntax? A brief look at statistical alternations
Author(s):Schenkoske, Laurel A.
Abstract:This pilot study aims to show that people indeed use subconscious statistical processing to aid in the acquisition of constructions, and frequent form-function mappings emerge as structures that work well together. The current study is a modified replication of Wells (2009), in which frequency distributions of NL-English speakers' relative clauses were manipulated, causing them to more quickly process a less frequent, irregular form. The construction under consideration here is the prenominal clause, rare in English, but attested in many primary languages. The hypothesis was that, given minimal exposure to this construction, subjects would statistically re-categorize their linguistic systems. The infrequent/irregular prenominal phrase was compared with the frequent/regular postnominal RC. Pre- and Post-Tests recorded participants’ self-paced reading times. During two brief Experience Blocks, spaced two days apart, subjects received limited exposure to both target structures. Reading times in the prenominal structure decreased more than that of the RC, for each subject, indicating faster processing. A preliminary analysis of results shows that all subjects reanalyzed the statistical distributions of the prenominal clause.
Issue Date:2014-12
Publisher:Studies in the Linguistic Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Citation Info:Studies in the Linguistic Sciences: Illinois Working Papers 39: 21-33
Rights Information:Copyright © 2014 Laurel A. Schenkoske
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-29

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