In this work, the author aims at answering an apparently trivial question: why is it so difficult to understand certain sentences? In order to be able to answer, it is previously necessary to understand how to measure the complexity of a sentence objectively and how this complexity correlates with a difficulty due to the processing of these clauses. After a short presentation of the question according to the ‘Minimalist Program’ framework, the paper tries to analyze why certain sentences result harder to comprehend: there could be unknown words, infrequent words, unfamiliar words, or words or sentences ambiguous at a semantic or structural level. Complexity, however, is measured in this chapter with different and quantifiable structural factors, focusing on ‘embedded’ relative clauses and cleft sentences. The complexity of processing is measured in terms of a slowdown in reading times, evaluated through eye-tracking techniques. The author accounts for the results obtained by hypothesising an explicit grammatical theory which reflects all the single operations made to build the sentence. This grammatical theory overturns the derivation direction taken for granted in the minimalist approach (top-down rather than bottom-up), so that it is possible to foresee when a sentence will be hard to process and which elements will cause this difficulty

Il processamento in tempo reale delle frasi complesse

CHESI C
2016

Abstract

In this work, the author aims at answering an apparently trivial question: why is it so difficult to understand certain sentences? In order to be able to answer, it is previously necessary to understand how to measure the complexity of a sentence objectively and how this complexity correlates with a difficulty due to the processing of these clauses. After a short presentation of the question according to the ‘Minimalist Program’ framework, the paper tries to analyze why certain sentences result harder to comprehend: there could be unknown words, infrequent words, unfamiliar words, or words or sentences ambiguous at a semantic or structural level. Complexity, however, is measured in this chapter with different and quantifiable structural factors, focusing on ‘embedded’ relative clauses and cleft sentences. The complexity of processing is measured in terms of a slowdown in reading times, evaluated through eye-tracking techniques. The author accounts for the results obtained by hypothesising an explicit grammatical theory which reflects all the single operations made to build the sentence. This grammatical theory overturns the derivation direction taken for granted in the minimalist approach (top-down rather than bottom-up), so that it is possible to foresee when a sentence will be hard to process and which elements will cause this difficulty
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12076/1318
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