University of Connecticut

Events Calendar

Colloquium Talk by Prof. Brian Dillon (UMass-Amherst)

Friday, November 6, 2015
4:00pm – 5:30pm

Storrs Campus
Oak 112

Prof. Brian Dillon (UMass-Amherst) will be giving a colloquium talk titled "Grammatical illusions in real time sentence processing: New findings and perspectives". (Abstract below).

Abstract: One question of enduring interest for psycholinguists is the question of how closely real-time sentence processing routines align with grammatical knowledge: does the competence grammar directly constrain sentence comprehension, or does it play a secondary role, 'cleaning up' the results of a comprehension process driven by heuristics (Lewis & Phillips, 2015; Patson & Ferreira, 2007; Townsend & Bever, 2001)? Much experimental work has provided evidence for the view that the human sentence processor is directly constrained by grammatical knowledge. A challenge for this view is the observation that there are a number of apparently simple grammatical constraints that comprehenders fail to respect in comprehension, such as subject-verb agreement (e.g. Wagers, Lau & Phillips, 2009). To account for these 'grammatical illusions,' it has been proposed that parser-grammar disconnects may be understood by appealing to independently motivated 'noisy' memory architectures (Phillips, Wagers & Lau, 2011). In this talk, I will review this work, and present three studies from our group that provide new perspectives, and new puzzles, for this body of work. In the first part of the talk, I will present evidence from English reflexive processing (with Shayne Sloggett) and French DP licensing (with Jérémy Pasquereau) that suggests that grammatical illusions are conditioned by the availability of alternative grammatical structures, in a way that goes beyond what is predicted by a 'noisy' memory store. In the second part of the talk, I take the up the question of how secure existing findings of grammatical faithfulness are. I present joint work with Dave Kush and Anthony Yacovone that suggests that comprehenders may not immediately suspend active gap-finding routines inside of island environments, contrary to previous reports (cf. Pickering & Traxler, 1996).


Emma Nguyen,

Linguistics Department (primary), UConn Master Calendar

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