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The prosody of ambiguous relative clauses in Spanish: a study of monolinguals and Basque- Spanish bilinguals Irene de la Cruz-Pavía & Gorka Elordieta UPV-EHU.

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Presentation on theme: "The prosody of ambiguous relative clauses in Spanish: a study of monolinguals and Basque- Spanish bilinguals Irene de la Cruz-Pavía & Gorka Elordieta UPV-EHU."— Presentation transcript:

1 The prosody of ambiguous relative clauses in Spanish: a study of monolinguals and Basque- Spanish bilinguals Irene de la Cruz-Pavía & Gorka Elordieta UPV-EHU This research has been funded by: Basque Government (BFI07.253) and CONSOLIDER-INGENIO: MCyT (CSD ).

2 1. INTRODUCTION ● Syntactic processing: 1. What are the cognitive processes and strategies that take place during language processing? 2. What influences syntactic parsing?

3 ●What role does prosody play? ● Prosodic principles influence in structural ambiguities resolution. (Schafer, Carter, Clifton y Frazier, 1996; Steinhauer, Alter y Friederici, 1999; Schafer, Speer, Warren y White, 2000; Snedecker y Trueswell, 2003; Frazier, Carlson, Clifton, 2006; Teira e Igoa, 2007) 1. INTRODUCTION

4 ● Speakers introduce effective prosodic cues (pauses, tonal rising) to create boundaries. ● Listeners use these prosodic cues to resolve syntactic ambiguities. 1. INTRODUCTION

5 ● Processing structural ambiguity in relative clauses. Someone shot the servant of the actress who was on the balcony. NP1 NP2 RC [NP + PP] + RC 1. INTRODUCTION

6 ● High Attachment / Early Closure Someone shot the servant of the actress who was on the balcony. NP1 NP2 RC 1. INTRODUCTION

7 ● Low Attachment / Late Closure Someone shot the servant of the actress who was on the balcony. NP1 NP2 RC 1. INTRODUCTION

8 → Early Closure / High Attachment CP DP alguien disparó a someone shot D NP el the NP RC N PP que e i estaba en el balcón criado i who i was on the balcony servant i P DP de of D NP la the N actriz actress

9 →Late Closure / Low Attachment CP DP alguien disparó a someone shot D NP el the N PP criado servant P DP de of D NP la the N RC actriz i actress i que e i estaba en el balcón who i was on the balcony

10 High Attachment preference Low Attachment preference Spanish(on-line + off-line) English (on-line + off-line) (Cuetos & Mitchell, 1988) (Cuetos & Mitchell, 1988; Fernández, 2002) French (on-line + off-line) Basque (off-line) ( Zagar, Pynte and Rativeau, 1997) (Gutierrez, Carreiras and Laka, 2004) German(on-line) Italian (on-line + off-line) (Hemforth, Konieczny, Scheepers and Strube, 1998) (De Vincenzi and Job, 1993 and 1995) Dutch (on-line + off-line) Swedish (off-line) (Brysbaert and Mitchell, 1996) (Ehrlich, Fernández, Fodor, Stenshoel & Vinereanu, 1999) Galician (on-line) Romanian (off-line) (Fraga, García-Orza and Acuña, 2005) (Ehrlich et al., 1999) Afrikaans (off-line) Norwegian (off-line) (Mitchell, Brysbaert, Grondelaers and Swanpoel, 2000) (Ehrlich et al., 1999) Greek (on-line) Brazilian Portuguese (on-line) (Clahsen & Felser, 2006) (Miyamoto, 1998)

11 2. The Prosodic Hypothesis (Fodor: 1998, 2002) ●The prosodic processor packages the input into chunks in an initial stage of processing. -Antigravity Law: Heavy constituents can rise, but light constituents stay low. Prosodic weight is defined by constituent length. - The longer the RC the heavier.

12 -Same-Size-Sister constraint: Find a sister of your own size. -The prosodic constituents of a sentence must have a balanced size. -Light/small RCs attach low in the syntactic tree. Heavy/large RCs attach high. 2. The Prosodic Hypothesis (Fodor 1998, 2002)

13 -Implicit Prosody Hypothesis: In silent reading a prosodic contour is imposed on the input string. -Results obtained by Maynell (1999) and Lovrić, Bradley and Fodor (2000, 2001) show a correlation between prosodic breaks and RC attachment. 2. The Prosodic Hypothesis (Fodor 1998, 2002)

14 ● Prosodic break after NP1 Low Attachment Someone shot the servant] break [of the actress that was on the balcony. NP1 NP2 ● Prosodic break after NP2 High Attachment Someone shot the servant of the actress] break [that was on the balcony. NP1 NP2 2. The Prosodic Hypothesis (Fodor 1998, 2002)

15 ● Two part experiment: production + questionnaire - Same materials and participants. - Order of the experiments: counterbalanced ● Plausibility/Naturalness test: 48 sentences + fillers The 36 most plausible/natural were selected (mean rate 6.16) not plausible/natural very plausible/natural 3. EXPERIMENTS

16 ● 36 experimental sentences containing: NP1 de NP2 + RC. 48 fillers pseudorandomly mixed: two lists ●The length of the RC was manipulated and sorted into three groups: 3-4 syll.; 6-7 syll.; 9-11 syll PRODUCTION METHODOLOGY

17 ● 24 participants: 8 Spanish monolinguals, 8 Basque-Spanish bilinguals L1 Spanish and 8 Basque- Spanish bilinguals L1 Basque. ● Task: to read the sentences aloud in a natural way. ● The utterances were recorded in an anechoic room. ●Skimming: 4 participants per linguistic group METHODOLOGY

18 ●Amount of experimental items recorded: 864 (2016 in total, fillers included) ● Amount of analyzed utterances: 844 ● We analyzed the prosodic contours of the critical region (the complex NP and the beginning of the RC). ●Prosodic cues: continuation rise, pause, lengthening. METHODOLOGY

19 Ayer ayudé al abuelo del ganadero break que adoraba comer lasaña todos los viernes. METHODOLOGY

20 ● Presence of a prosodic break between NP1 and NP2 in the sentences with the shortest RC (3-4 syll.) Nadie habló al amigo / del gamberro que vino. break ● Presence of a prosodic break between NP2 and RC in the sentences with longer RCs (6-7 and 9-11 syll.) El hombre despidió al hermano del marinero / que hablaba portugués. break PREDICTIONS

21 ● Neutral vs. non-neutral utterances RESULTS

22 ● 90.9% of the boundaries: continuation rise ●15.3% were combined with pauses and 7.1% with lengthening RESULTS

23 ●21.1% of the prosodic breaks were placed after NP1 78.9% prosodic breaks after NP2 RESULTS

24 Mi madre invitó a la sobrina break de la bailarina que bebía. METHODOLOGY

25 ●75% of the prosodic breaks after NP1 are introduced in the group containing the shortest RCs (3-4 syll.) RESULTS

26 ● The longer the RC, the higher the frequency of appearance of a prosodic break after NP2. RESULTS

27 ●L1 Basque bilinguals: significantly higher number of neutral utterances (χ²=11.98, p<.005) RESULTS

28 ●Higher frequency of clear boundaries. RESULTS

29 ●Monolinguals and L1 Spanish Bilinguals were clearer in their prosodic breaks than L1 Basque bilinguals (χ²=7.16, p<.05) RESULTS

30 ●Skimming: higher presence of boundary cues (χ²=32.73, p<.001) RESULTS

31 ● Skimming: higher frequency of prosodic boundaries after NP2 (χ²=9.47, p<.005) RESULTS

32 ●Default prosodic contour: prosodic boundary after NP2 (72%) high attachment ●These results fulfill Fodor’s Antigravity Law’s predictions partially. - Long (heavy) RCs show a clear preference for high attachment (91.85%). - Short (light) RCs show a much smaller preference for high attachment (55%). CONCLUSIONS

33 ●Basque dominant speakers produce fewer prosodic breaks and these are less clear than Spanish dominant speakers. ●Skimming the sentences leads to more non-neutral utterances; ●and to a higher frequency of the default contour (break after NP2). CONCLUSIONS

34 Prosodic weight (in terms of number of syllables) influences prosodic segmentation. CONCLUSIONS

35 ●To study ambiguous RC attachment preferences of participants of production study. ●Is there a correlation between prosodic segmentation and attachment preferences? 3.2. QUESTIONNAIRE AIMS

36 ●Same materials and same participants. ●Task: read the sentences silently and choose an antecedent for the empty subject of the RC. METHODOLOGY

37 ● 3-4 syllable RCs: NP2 as preferred host in around 50% of the sentences. Alguien llevó al amigo del niño que lloraba. ¿Quién lloraba? el amigo el niño ● 6-7 and 9-11 syllable RCs: NP1 as preferred host in almost every sentence. El hombre despidió al hermano del marinero que hablaba portugués. ¿Quién hablaba portugués? el hermano el marinero PREDICTIONS

38 ● General low attachment preference RESULTS

39 Prosodic break Expectancy of location attch. preference

40 ● Low Attachment / Late Closure Someone shot the servant / of the actress who was on the balcony. NP1 break NP2 RC 1. INTRODUCTION

41 Prosodic break Expectancy of location attch. preference

42 ● High Attachment / Early Closure Someone shot the servant of the actress / who was on the balcony. NP1 NP2 break RC 1. INTRODUCTION

43 Prosodic break Expectancy of location attch. preference

44 Expectancy of Questionnaire attch. preference results

45 Great interpersonal variability No correlation between prosodic contours and attachment preference. CONCLUSIONS

46 Why? – Implicit prosody is not similar to explicit prosody. or – An off-line experiment only reveals the end decision taken by the participant. CONCLUSIONS

47 Perception experiment: – Auditorilly present utterances with different prosodic contours. – Participants will have to choose the preferred antecedent. FUTURE RESEARCH

48 Thank you! And thank you also to: all the participants Edurne Petrirena ELEBILAB BRAINGLOT

49 ● Linguistic Group x length x site of the prosodic boundary: 3-4 syllables 4. Results

50 ●Linguistic Group x length x site of the prosodic boundary: 6-7 syllables and 9-11 syllables 4. Results

51 3-4 syllable RCs Production Questionnaire

52 6-7 syllable RCs Production Questionnaire

53 9-11 syllable RCs Production Questionnaire


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