January 7, 2015

Research Groups: Friday, January 9

9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Psycholinguistics Group
Meg Grant: "Processing structural and referential ambiguities" - joint work with Brian Dillon and Shayne Sloggett (University of Massachusetts, Amherst).

One of the classic projects in the field of sentence processing has been to determine the mechanism by which structural ambiguities, for example attachment ambiguities, are resolved during comprehension. This focus has persisted because the nature of ambiguity resolution has important implications for models of sentence processing in general. The results of studies in this domain have generally supported a model of attachment in which a single analysis of ambiguous material is adopted without a cost to processing (e.g., Traxler et al., 1998; van Gompel et al, 2001) over models in which multiple analyses are simultaneously adopted and compete for selection (e.g., MacDonald et al., 1994). Concurrently, a separate literature has examined the mechanism by which referential ambiguities, such as pronoun reference, are resolved. Contrary to the literature on attachment, competition has been observed between available referents in pronoun resolution (e.g., Badecker and Straub, 2002). In this talk, I will present work directly comparing these two ambiguity types, showing that the separation in the literature between these two ambiguity types is perhaps misleading and that a unified mechanism of ambiguity resolution should be maintained. I will present data from several reading-time methods, including eye movements during reading, self-paced reading and a novel ambiguity judgment task allowing for discussion of the ways in which task demands can influence real-time sentence processing.

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Syntax-Semantics Group
Paper discussion of at least the first of two articles:

Thomas, Guillaume (2014). Nominal tense and temporal implicatures: evidence from MbyĆ”. Natural Language Semantics, 22(4), 357-412.

Bochnak, M. Ryan (forthcoming). The Degree Semantics Parameter and cross-linguistic variation. To be published in Semantics and Pragmatics.

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Fieldwork Group
Diane Massam and Catherine Macdonald on fieldwork on the Polynesian languages Niuean and Tongan (in Toronto and in New Zealand and Niue).

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