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The failure to use gender information in parsing: A comment on van Berkum, Brown, and Hagoort (1999)

By M. Brysbaert and D.C. Mitchell


We critically review the empirical evidence published by van Berkum, Brown and Hagoort (1999a, 1999b) against syntax-first models of sentence parsing. According to van Berkum et al., discourse factors and word gender information are used instantaneously to guide the parser. First, we note that the density of the experimental trials (relative to fillers) and the slow presentation rate of the van Berkum et al. design seem likely to have elicited the use of tactics involving rapid re-analysis of the material. Second, we present new data from a questionnaire study showing that the grammatical gender information of a relative pronoun in Dutch is often completely ignored, even during the wrap-up at the end of the sentence

Topics: Cognitive Psychology
Year: 2000
OAI identifier:

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