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The development of interactive parsing : the role of prosody and lexical biases in children's (and adults') sentence processing

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Snedeker, J., & Yuan, S. (in preparation). The development of interactive parsing: the role of prosody and lexical biases in children's (and adults') sentence processing.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-93A2-8
Studies with adult listene rs have demonstrated that prosody, lexical information and referential evidence all have rapid effect s on the interpretation of syntactically ambiguous sentences, lending support to highly interactive models of online interpretation. But young children in parallel studies often fail to use referential information and instead rely heavily on lexical constraints (Trueswell, Sekerina, Hill & Logr ip, 1999; Snedeker & Trueswell, 2004). This pattern is consistent with either a modular parsin g system driven by stored lexical information or an interactive system which has yet to acquire low-validity referential constraints. In two experiments, we used a spoken language eye-gaze pa radigm to demonstrate that four to six-year old children, and adults, rapidly use prosody to interpret prepositional-phrase attachment ambiguities. When both lexical and prosodic cu es are manipulated, they have independent (additive) effects on online inte rpretation. We conclude that young children, like adults, rapidly use multiple sources of information to resolve structural ambiguities.