Cours 09

Cours 09

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Garden path sentences• The horse raced past the barn fell.– cf. The horse that was raced past the barn fell. The car driven past the barn crashed.• Minimal Attachment Principle– readers are biased towards syntactically simpler structures• Interfering factors– frequency of lexical co-occurrence– semantic plausibility– verb subcategorization preferences– context: Referential Principle– …The kinder-garden path effectAim: Test the interpretation of sentence in real time by young children (5 year-olds)Method: eye-tracking (instead of reading, as used in adult studies)Experiment(this and many of the following slides adapted from Steven Crain)“Put the frog on the napkin…into the box”two interpretations:Destination of ‘putting’ eventDestination InterpretationModifier of the NP ‘the frog”Modifier Interpretation(“the frog that is on the napkin”)Designig1-referent 2-referentambiguous‘Put the frog on the napkin into the box.’non-ambiguous ‘Put the frog that’s on the napkin into the box.’Ambiguous: The One Frog ConditionboTOrCion the napkin…Put the frog hein…hein…Ambiguous: The One Frog ConditionAiuF CdnDestination of ‘putting’ event (Destination Interpretation)where ?Put the frog on the napkin…Ambiguous: The Two Frog ConditionAiuF CdnDestination of ‘putting’ event (Destination Interpretation)where ?on the napkin…Put the frog hein…hein…?Ambiguous: The Two Frog ConditionAiuF CdnDestination of ‘putting’ event (Destination ...

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Garden path sentences
The horse raced past the barn fell. – cf. The horse that was raced past the barn fell. The car driven past the barn crashed.
Minimal Attachment Principle – readers are biased towards syntactically simpler structures
Interfering factors – frequency of lexical co-occurrence –semantic plausibility – verb subcategorization preferences – context: Referential Principle – …
The kinder-garden path effect
Aim: Test the interpretation of sentence in real time by young children (5 year-olds)
Method: eye-tracking (instead of reading, as used in adult studies)
Experiment (this and many of the following slides adapted from Steven Crain)
“Put the frog on the napkin…into the box”
two interpretations:
Destination of ‘putting’ event Destination Interpretation
Modifier of the NP ‘the frog” Modifier Interpretation (“the frog that is on the napkin”)
1-referent
ambiguous
Design
2-referent
‘Put the frog on the napkin into the box.’  
non-ambiguous  
‘Put the frog that’s on the napkin into the box.’
Ambiguous:The OneFrog Condition
Put the frog
on thena
kin…
Ambiguous:TheOne FrogCondition
Destination of ‘putting’ event (Destination Interpretation)
Put the frogon the napkin…
where ?
Ambiguous: TheTwoFrog Condition
Put the frogon thena
?
Destination of ‘putting’ event (Destination Interpretation) where ? kin…
Ambiguous: TheTwoFrog Condition
Destination of ‘putting’ event (Destination Interpretation) where ?
Put the frogon the napkin…
Modifier of the NP ‘the frog” (Modifier Interpretation) which frog?
Theta Assignment Principle
In absence of context the parser attaches the PP ‘on the napkin’ to the Verb Phrase ‘put’ -- thus pursuing the Destination Interpretation.
Theta Assignment Principle: children and adults attempt to immediately fill in the Theta Grid of a verb.
Adherence to this principle results in a garden path effect.
Principle of Referential Success
 oreading that succeeds in referring t an entity“If there is a already established in the hearer’s mental model of the domain of discourse, then it is favored over one that does not.”(Crain and Steedman, 1985)
–Two-referent condition: only theModifier Interpretation succeeds in referring to a unique referent. This interpretation should be adopted.
the frog: does not succeed in referring. the frog on the napkin: does succeed!