The real-time status of strong and weak islands

Derya Çokal, Patrick Sturt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In two eye-tracking reading experiments, we used a variant of the filled gap technique to investigate how strong and weak islands are processed on a moment-to-moment basis during comprehension. Experiment 1 provided a conceptual replication of previous studies showing that real time processing is sensitive to strong islands. In the absence of an island, readers experienced processing difficulty when a pronoun appeared in a position of a predicted gap, but this difficulty was absent when the pronoun appeared inside a strong island. Experiment 2 showed an analogous effect for weak islands: a processing cost was seen for a pronoun in the position of a predicted gap in a that-complement clause, but this cost was absent in a matched whether clause, which constitutes a weak island configuration. Overall, our results are compatible with the claim that active dependency formation is suspended, or reduced, in both weak and strong island structures.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2022


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