a new file card representing dishonest students. In addition, the determiner only requires a contrast set. This contrast set is already available if, following the pragmatic default we just mentioned, the newly created card corresponding to dishonest students is subdivided so as to create a new discourse referent, namely a set of individuals who are students, but not dishonest ones. This results in the expectation that people will once again misanalyse the ambiguous phrase furnished the answers. In sum, the prediction is that sentences beginning with NPs with both only and an ADJ should evoke garden path effects, just like sentences whose initial NP contains the definite determiner, as in (18) above.
These predictions were investigated in the Ni and Crain study using a self-paced reading task. As predicted, they found that there was a significant difference between sentences like (18) and (20), and the only sentences with no adjective. The former clearly induced garden path effects, in the form of increased reaction times at the critical word (for example, received in example ). By contrast, sentences like (19), with only without an ADJ, patterned exactly like unambiguous control sentences. These findings offer strong presumptive support for the Principle of Parsimony.
Three important modules for human processing of natural language are syntax, semantics, and world knowledge. The semantic module has been our specific concern here. In trying to formulate an adequate semantic representation for phrases we are pushed to the realization that it is intertwined with both syntax and world knowledge in interesting and unsuspected ways. The results of these deliberations have clear consequences for the design of natural language interfaces.
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Publication information: Book title: Formal Grammar:Theory and Implementation. Contributors: Robert Levine - Editor. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1992. Page number: 399.
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