Susanne Gahl

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Frequent words tend to shorten (see e.g. Schuchardt 1885, Hooper 1976), as do words that have a high probability of occurrence given a neighboring word (Jurafsky et al. 2001). This tendency has been cited in support of the claim that probabilities are an inherent part of grammar, and of syntax in particular. There is widespread consensus, however, that the(More)
Frequent or contextually predictable words are often phonetically reduced, i.e. shortened and produced with articulatory undershoot. Explanations for phonetic reduction of predictable forms tend to take one of two approaches: Intelligibility-based accounts hold that talkers maximize intelligibility of words that might otherwise be difficult to recognize;(More)
Speakers frequently have a choice among multiple ways of expressing one and the same thought. When choosing between syntactic constructions for expressing a given meaning, speakers are sensitive to probabilistic tendencies for syntactic, semantic or contextual properties of an utterance to favor one construction or another. Taken together, such tendencies(More)
Verb subcategorization frequencies (verb biases) have been widely studied in psycholinguistics and play an important role in human sentence processing. Yet available resources on subcategorization frequencies suffer from limited coverage, limited ecological validity, and divergent coding criteria. Prior estimates of verb transitivity, for example, vary(More)
Background: This study investigates the role of lexical information in normal and aphasic sentence comprehension. Effects of verb biases in normal comprehension have been well documented in previous studies (e.g., Spivey-Knowlton & Sedivy, 1995; Trueswell, Tanenhaus, & Kello, 1993), but their role in aphasic language processing has largely been ignored(More)
This study investigates three factors that have been argued to define "canonical form" in sentence comprehension: Syntactic structure, semantic role, and frequency of usage. We first examine the claim that sentences containing unaccusative verbs present difficulties analogous to those of passive sentences. Using a plausibility judgment task, we show that a(More)
The probability of encountering a particular syntactic configuration, given a particular verb (i.e. “verb bias” or “subcategorization preference”) affects language comprehension (Trueswell, Tanenhaus, & Kello, 1993). A recent study (Gahl & Garnsey 2004) of sentences with temporary direct object / sentential complement ambiguities shows that such(More)