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Processing word order variations and ellipses: The interplay of syntax and information structure during sentence comprehension.

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Stolterfoht,  Britta
Max Planck Research Group Neurocognition of Prosody, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Stolterfoht, B. (2005). Processing word order variations and ellipses: The interplay of syntax and information structure during sentence comprehension. PhD Thesis, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-D2DC-0
Abstract
The aim of this thesis is to show that not only syntactic representations play a role in the processing of word order variations. Variations of order affect not only the syntactic structure, but also hte information structure of a sentence. The information structure of a sentence can be described as its division into focus and background. [...] Chapter 2 introduces linguistic theories which try to explain the abovementioned characteristics of word order variations. Syntactic as well as focus structural analyses are discussed. [...] Chapter 3 gives an overview of language comprehension models. These models are discussed on the background of emprirical studies which investigated the processing of word order variations. A neurocognitive perspective on language processing is provided in Chapter 4. A neurophysiological method, the measuring of evetn-related brain potentials (ERPs), and a neurocognitive model of language comprehension are described. this chapter also discusses studies using the described method for the investigation of word order variations. Chapter 5, the first experimental part of the thesis, includes three reading studies which look into hte processing of word order variations with different DP types. [...] Chapter 6 gives an overview of behavioral as well as ERP studies investigating the processing of focus structure and prosody. The second experimental part of the thesis is described in Chapter 7. By studying the processing of contrastive ellipses, it is possible to differentiate between the processing of focus structure on the one hand and implicit prosodic processing on the other. Finally, Chapter 8 provides a summary and general discussion of the experimental results and discusses their implications for models of sentence processing.