The processing of it object relative clauses: Evidence against a fine-grained frequency account

Paul M. Heider, Jeruen E. Dery, Douglas William Roland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Reali and Christiansen (2007a) found that pronominal object relative clauses were easier to process than analogous subject relative clauses, except when the pronoun is it. They attributed this to it occurring more frequently in subject relatives than in object relatives, while the opposite was true for the other pronouns. We find that their it relative clause processing result was due to a garden path like effect caused by participants misinterpreting the referent of the grammatical subject of the sentence containing the relative clause, rather than any inherent properties of the relative clause itself. We also find that when reduced object relative clauses are taken into account, it occurs more frequently in object relative clauses than subject relative clauses. Our results are broadly consistent with expectation-based accounts of processing, but not with a fine-grained account that would predict different behavior for reduced and unreduced object relative clauses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-76
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Volume75
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Processing
evidence
Relative Clauses
Pronoun

Keywords

  • Constraint-based approach
  • Corpus analysis
  • Discourse
  • Relative clause
  • Sentence processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence

Cite this

The processing of it object relative clauses : Evidence against a fine-grained frequency account. / Heider, Paul M.; Dery, Jeruen E.; Roland, Douglas William.

In: Journal of Memory and Language, Vol. 75, 01.01.2014, p. 58-76.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{4c9d7d7026984e21978c0fcb8f2ba216,
title = "The processing of it object relative clauses: Evidence against a fine-grained frequency account",
abstract = "Reali and Christiansen (2007a) found that pronominal object relative clauses were easier to process than analogous subject relative clauses, except when the pronoun is it. They attributed this to it occurring more frequently in subject relatives than in object relatives, while the opposite was true for the other pronouns. We find that their it relative clause processing result was due to a garden path like effect caused by participants misinterpreting the referent of the grammatical subject of the sentence containing the relative clause, rather than any inherent properties of the relative clause itself. We also find that when reduced object relative clauses are taken into account, it occurs more frequently in object relative clauses than subject relative clauses. Our results are broadly consistent with expectation-based accounts of processing, but not with a fine-grained account that would predict different behavior for reduced and unreduced object relative clauses.",
keywords = "Constraint-based approach, Corpus analysis, Discourse, Relative clause, Sentence processing",
author = "Heider, {Paul M.} and Dery, {Jeruen E.} and Roland, {Douglas William}",
year = "2014",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.jml.2014.05.001",
language = "English",
volume = "75",
pages = "58--76",
journal = "Journal of Memory and Language",
issn = "0749-596X",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The processing of it object relative clauses

T2 - Evidence against a fine-grained frequency account

AU - Heider, Paul M.

AU - Dery, Jeruen E.

AU - Roland, Douglas William

PY - 2014/1/1

Y1 - 2014/1/1

N2 - Reali and Christiansen (2007a) found that pronominal object relative clauses were easier to process than analogous subject relative clauses, except when the pronoun is it. They attributed this to it occurring more frequently in subject relatives than in object relatives, while the opposite was true for the other pronouns. We find that their it relative clause processing result was due to a garden path like effect caused by participants misinterpreting the referent of the grammatical subject of the sentence containing the relative clause, rather than any inherent properties of the relative clause itself. We also find that when reduced object relative clauses are taken into account, it occurs more frequently in object relative clauses than subject relative clauses. Our results are broadly consistent with expectation-based accounts of processing, but not with a fine-grained account that would predict different behavior for reduced and unreduced object relative clauses.

AB - Reali and Christiansen (2007a) found that pronominal object relative clauses were easier to process than analogous subject relative clauses, except when the pronoun is it. They attributed this to it occurring more frequently in subject relatives than in object relatives, while the opposite was true for the other pronouns. We find that their it relative clause processing result was due to a garden path like effect caused by participants misinterpreting the referent of the grammatical subject of the sentence containing the relative clause, rather than any inherent properties of the relative clause itself. We also find that when reduced object relative clauses are taken into account, it occurs more frequently in object relative clauses than subject relative clauses. Our results are broadly consistent with expectation-based accounts of processing, but not with a fine-grained account that would predict different behavior for reduced and unreduced object relative clauses.

KW - Constraint-based approach

KW - Corpus analysis

KW - Discourse

KW - Relative clause

KW - Sentence processing

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84902275416&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84902275416&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.jml.2014.05.001

DO - 10.1016/j.jml.2014.05.001

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84902275416

VL - 75

SP - 58

EP - 76

JO - Journal of Memory and Language

JF - Journal of Memory and Language

SN - 0749-596X

ER -