Linguistics Colloquium: Maayan Keshev

16/06/2020 - 14:00 - 15:30

Maayan Keshev, Tel Aviv University

Title: Avoiding marked structures in sentence processing: Evidence from Hebrew post-verbal subjects


During sentence processing, comprehenders incrementally form syntactic structures and interpret the sentence without unequivocal evidence. I suggest that in doing so, comprehenders actively refrain from constructing marked sentential representations. A series of psycholinguistic experiments investigates the processing of temporary ambiguity in Hebrew VSO relative clauses like ha-talmid she-etmol hixlit ha-more leha’anish. The results exhibit that comprehenders do not predict the post-verbal subject in such cases, and are even willing to compromise subject-verb agreement to refrain from such (grammatical but) highly marked structures. This suggests that comprehenders maintain uncertainty as to the fidelity of the input and prefer assuming an error occurred (a typo or misperception) over forming a marked sentence structure.


Place: Building 403 room 2


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