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Gradience in GrammarGenerative Perspectives$
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Gisbert Fanselow, Caroline Féry, Matthias Schlesewsky, and Ralf Vogel

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199274796

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199274796.001.0001

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Effects of Processing Difficulty on Judgements of Acceptability

Effects of Processing Difficulty on Judgements of Acceptability

(p.291) 15 Effects of Processing Difficulty on Judgements of Acceptability
Gradience in Grammar



Oxford University Press

This chapter highlights the effect of processing difficulty on acceptability. It analyses evidence demonstrating that parsing problems often reduce acceptability. It shows that the fact that processing difficulty may increase acceptability is less obvious, but this probability is nonetheless borne out. The preferred interpretation of a locally vague construction can have a positive influence on the global acceptability of a sentence even when this is later abandoned. The occurrence of the positive impact of local ambiguities in a domain that goes beyond mere syntactic feature differences is confirmed by the experiments focusing on long wh-movement. Thus, local acceptability perceptions during the parsing process influence the global acceptability of a sentence.

Keywords:   acceptability, wh-movement, processing difficulty, structural ambiguities, judgments, parsing problems, grammar, syntax

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