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The boy laughed.
The man in the kitchen drives a truck.
Pat and Leslie raised llamas.
Robin drove her truck into a tree.
Many executives eat at really fancy restaurants.
Robin drove her car into a tree.
Sentence processing = structure building
by grouping words (chucking)
Ambiguous Sentence Examples:
The old man the boat.
The old man the boat.
The boat floated downstream sank.
The boat floated downstream sank.
The daughter of the king’s son killed himself.
The daughter of the king’s son killed himself.
The cotton clothing is made from
grows in Mississippi.
The cotton clothing is made from
grows in Mississippi.
They told the boy the girl met the story.
They told the boy the girl met the story.
The spy saw the cop with a telescope.
The spy saw the cop with a telescope.
The horse raced the barn fell.
The horse raced the barn fell.
Ambiguity = more than one interpretation
1. Lexical Ambiguity
caused by more than one meaning of a
lexical item (= word)
e.g. John went to the bank yesterday afternoon
a. to deposit his paycheck.
b. to take a walk and relax.
Both interpretations have the same sentence structure.
2. Structural Ambiguity
caused by more than one structure possible
of the sentence (= more than one chunking)
e.g. Astronomers saw stars with ears.
Astronomers saw stars with ears.
More details about Structural Ambiguity
1. Global Ambiguity
:Ambiguity still exists when the sentence ends.
Example sentences with global ambiguity:
The spy saw the cop with the telescope.
The spy saw the cop with the telescope.
John bought the flowers for Mary.
John bought the flowers for Mary.
Larry raised miniature badgers and raccoons.
Larry raised miniature badgers and raccoons.
We need more intelligent leaders.
We need more intelligent leaders.
2. Local Ambiguity (Temporary Ambiguity)
Ambiguity exists at some point in the sentence,
but eventually it is resolved (=disambiguated).
Example sentences of locally ambiguous sent.
The horse raced past the barn fell.
The horse raced past the barn fell.
Ernie kissed Marcie and her sister….
1. at the airport.
2. started to laugh.
Ambiguous Region: her sister
Possible interpretations:
1. Object of “kissed”
2. Subject of a new clause
Disambiguation Region: 1 and 2
The city council argued the mayor’s position...
1. forcefully.
2. was correct.
Ambiguous Region: the mayor’s position
Possible interpretations:
1. Object of “argued”
2. Subject of a new clause
Disambiguation Region: 1 and 2
The cop informed the motorist that he noticed
to avoid overtaking the school bus.
Ambiguous Region: that he noticed
Possible interpretations:
1. the relative clause that modifies “the
motorist.”
2. object clause of the verb “informed” (i.e.
the content of the information)
Disambiguation Region: to avoid….
The defendant examined
by the attorney
turned out to be unreliable.
Ambiguous Region: examined
Possible interpretations:
1. main verb of the sentence (the defendant
examined something…)
2. reduced relative clause (the defendant
(who was) examined)
Disambiguation Region: turned out…
The criminal confessed his sin
harmed many people.
Ambiguous Region:
Possible interpretations:
1.
2.
Disambiguation Region:
Theoretical Hypothesis Making:
(Models of Sentence Processing)
Q: What do people do when they face ambiguity?
1. call 911
2. call Ling371 instructor
3. test their luck
Answer: 3. test their luck
Ambiguity = more than one interpretation
We need to make a decision! And, test
whether our decision is a correct one or not.
Decision principle: How many decision?
Information principle: How?
Decision principle: How many decision?
One: Serial Processing Model
More than one: Parallel Processing Model
None: Minimal Commitment Model
Information Use Principle: How?
Stick to one type of info: Modular Model
Use various types of info: Interactive Model
Combinations of models:
Serial Modular Model
Serial Interactive Model
Testing Theoretical Models:
1. What predictions do the models make?
a. At the ambiguous region
b. At the disambiguous region
2. Are the predictions compatible with the
actual empirical evidence?
An example of
sentence processing experiments:
Self-paced reading time task
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