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Five studies explored the processing of ambiguous sentences like Martin maintained that the CEO lied when the investigation started/at the start of the investigation. The central question was why particular prosodic boundaries have the effects they do. A written questionnaire provided baseline preferences and suggested that clausal adjuncts (when the(More)
Words, like musical notes, are grouped together into phrases by their rhythmic and durational properties as well as their tonal pitch. This 'prosodic phrasing' affects the understanding of sentences. Many processing studies of prosody have investigated sentences with a single, grammatically required prosodic boundary, which might be interpreted strictly(More)
The rational speaker hypothesis (Clifton, Carlson, & Frazier, 2002) claims that speakers are self-consistent, employing intonation in a manner consistent with their intended message. Preceding a constituent by a prosodic boundary that is not required by the grammar often signals that this constituent is not part of the immediately preceding phrase. However,(More)
In an experiment spanning a week, American English speakers imitated a Glaswegian (Scottish) English speaker. The target sounds were allophones of /t/ and /r/, as the Glaswegian speaker aspirated word-medial /t/ but pronounced /r/ as a flap initially and medially. This experiment therefore explored (a) whether speakers could learn to reassign a sound they(More)
In English, new information typically appears late in the sentence, as does primary accent. Because of this tendency, perceivers might expect the final constituent or constituents of a sentence to contain informational focus. This expectation should in turn affect how they comprehend focus-sensitive constructions such as ellipsis sentences. Results from(More)
The let alone construction (John can't run a mile, let alone a marathon) differs from standard coordination structures (with and or but) by requiring ellipsis of the second conjunct--for example, a marathon is the remnant of an elided clause [[see text] a marathon]. In support of an ellipsis account, a corpus study of British and American English finds that(More)
Two partially independent issues are addressed in two auditory rating studies: under what circumstances is a sub-string of a sentence identified as a stand-alone sentence, and under what circumstances do globally ill-formed but 'locally coherent' analyses (Tabor, Galantucci, & Richardson., 2004) emerge? A new type of locally coherent structure is(More)