chap 6 notes

chap 6 notes - Chapter 6 Comprehending a sentence involves...

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Chapter 6: - Comprehending a sentence involves attention to syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic factors. - At the syntactic level, we identify the constituent or phrase structure of the sentence. - At the semantic level, we identify the semantic roles played by various words in the sentence. The actor is the agent, and audience is the recipient of the action. - At the pragmatic level, we probably have some knowledge about the real-world circumstances in which this sentence would make sense. - Parsing: The first step in the process of understanding a sentence is to assign elements of its surface structure to linguistic categories. - The result of parsing is an internal representation of the linguistic relationships within a sentence, usually in the form of a tree structure or phrase marker. - When parsing, we are making decisions about where to place incoming words into the phrase marker we are building. - Just and Carpenter suggest that we make these decisions immediately as we encounter a word, a principle called immediacy principle. - In this principle, when we first see or hear a word, we access its meaning from permanent memory, identify its likely referent, and fit it into the syntactic structure of the sentence. - The alternative to immediate processing is to take a “wait-and-see” principle, to postpone interpreting a word or phrase until it is clear where the sentence is going. - The primary reason that we use immediate processing is that the number of decisions involved in understanding even a single sentence can be quite large and thus overload our cognitive resources. - “The florist sent the flowers was very pleased.” This is a grammatical sentence with an embedded relative clause (a clause that modifies the noun). Declarative clauses are more familiar than relative clauses, so we are more likely to “place our bets” on that outcome. - Frazier discussed different parsing strategies. One parsing strategy is called the late closure strategy. This strategy states that, wherever possible we prefer to attach new items to the current constituent. This reduced the burden on working memory during parsing. - In a garden path sentence, we interpret a sentence in a particular way only to find out near the end that we have misinterpreted it. - A second parsing strategy is the minimal attachment strategy, which states that we prefer attaching new items into the phrase marker being constructed using the fewest syntactic nodes consistent with the rules of language. - The parsing strategies identified by Frazier are consistent with the modular approach to language comprehension. - Parsing is performed initially by a syntactic module that is not influenced by higher-order contextual variable such as the meaning of the sentence or by general world knowledge. Frazier believes that parsing is executed by a syntactic module, and these contextual
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This note was uploaded on 04/22/2008 for the course PSYC 403 taught by Professor ? during the Spring '08 term at McGill.

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chap 6 notes - Chapter 6 Comprehending a sentence involves...

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