Prosodic Effects on Garden-path Sentences


A garden-path sentence has temporary ambiguity that a reader or listener need to resolve. Prosody is well-known to have effects on sentence comprehension so it is expected that it will affect the interpretation of garden-path sentences. However, in an auditory comprehension test with natural speech, the garden-path effect may be unclear because a listener can typically resolve the ambiguity and recover from the garden-path effect when the sentence is completed. Therefore, this paper investigates ways to enhance or suppress gardenpath interpretation in Mandarin by manipulating phrasing with pause insertion and pitch reset. The results show that long pause at the garden-path site enhances the garden-path (wrong) interpretation which cannot be undone by pitch reset that encourages the correct phrasing. The most effective way in prosody to enhance the gardenpath effect in Mandarin requires both long pause and high pitch reset.

5 Figures and Tables

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Ning2012ProsodicEO, title={Prosodic Effects on Garden-path Sentences}, author={Li-Hsin Ning and Chilin Shih}, year={2012} }