A new look at the syntax-discourse interface: the use of binding principles in sentence processing

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Abstract

Within Generative Grammar, binding constraints on co-reference are usually defined in syntactic terms. However, some researchers have pointed out examples in which syntactically defined binding constraints do not seem to apply, proposing instead that a complete account of linguistic co-reference needs to consider notions of discourse structure. There have been several proposals in the literature for the division of labor between syntax and discourse in the definition of binding constraints. In this paper, we review these proposals in the context of recent work that applies online techniques to explore the roles of syntactic and discourse preferences in terms of the time course with which they become active during sentence comprehension. Some of this research suggests that (syntactic) binding principles may be momentarily applied during processing, even in cases in which the final interpretation suggests otherwise. We end the paper by considering the theoretical and methodological implications of this view.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-39
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Psycholinguistic Research
Volume32
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords

  • Communication
  • Humans
  • Linguistics
  • Verbal Behavior

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