Kolloquien  |  Linguistik

FB Kolloquium: Similarity effects in sentence comprehension: the role of memory encoding

Donnerstag, 27. Juni 2019
15:15 – 16:45 Uhr

G 307

FB Linguistik

Julie Franck (Universität Genf)

Cross-linguistic evidence shows that speakers sometimes agree a verb with an ‘attractor’ that is not its subject, even when the subject is adjacent to the verb, as in object relative clauses (e.g., *John speaks to the patients that the doctor cure). Such attraction errors are typically observed when the subject and the attractor mismatch in number or gender. However, recent evidence from our lab shows that sentence comprehension is actually facilitated when these two elements mismatch. I will suggest that the key factor underlying these effects is the similarity between the subject and other elements in the sentence, which penalizes the process of structure building/sentence encoding in memory.