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Academic Paper

Title: The use of pronominal case in English sentence interpretation
Author: Yuki Yoshimura
Institution: University of Massachusetts
Author: Brian Macwhinney
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Carnegie Mellon University
Linguistic Field: Syntax
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This study examined adult English native speakers' processing of sentences in which pronominal case marking conflicts with word order. Previous research has shown that English speakers rely heavily on word order for assigning case roles during sentence interpretation. However, in terms of cue reliability measures, we should expect English pronominal case to be nearly as strong a cue as word order. The current study examined this issue by asking subjects to interpret grammatical and ungrammatical sentences in which case competes with word order. The results indicated that word order remains the strongest cue in English, even when the case-marking cue is available. However, for non-canonical word orders, the case-marking cue had a strong effect on sentence interpretation.


This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 31, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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