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relative clauses

 

This project explores syntactic complexity through the examination of the processing of relative clauses. This structure proves to be very difficult to process: since relativization involves the movement of a constituent, the interpretation of the sentence cannot rest upon canonical word order, and in order to be assigned a thematic role, this moved constituent needs to be interpreted via its related empty category. In the meantime, it has to be stored in working memory. Furthermore, in the case of object relative clauses modifying the subject NP, the matrix clause is interrupted. These factors represent an extra processing load and are hypothesized to be likely to disrupt or to make difficult comprehension, production and acquisition.

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