The Interaction of Syntactic and Lexical Information Sources in Language Processing: The Case of the Noun-verb Ambiguity

Year
2012
Volume 13
Issue 3
Pages
249-285
Authors
Evelina Fedorenko, Steven T. Piantadosi, & Edward Gibson
Abstract
This paper reports the results of a lexical decision experiment and a selfpaced reading experiment that investigate the interaction between syntactic and lexical information in on-line language processing, using the noun-verb ambiguity in English. The results of both experiments provide support for the hypothesis whereby syntactic and lexical information are two independent factors in the process of sentence comprehension, consistent with previous work in the sense-ambiguity processing literature. Our results therefore add to the body of literature that demonstrates that the process of language comprehension is guided by numerous independent information sources, rather than syntactic information alone, as some of the earlier proposals in the field of sentence processing hypothesized.

Key words: syntax, lexical processing, ambiguity resolution, top-down and bottom-up processes in language understanding