Constructing filler-gap dependencies in Chinese possessor relative clauses

Charles Chien Jer Lin, Sandiway Fong, Thomas G. Bever

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article explores the construction of filler-gap dependencies in Chinese possessor relative clauses (PRCs), which are different from typical relative clauses (RCs) considered in the literature because Chinese PRCs contain no overt missing arguments (i.e. gaps). As Chinese RCs are prenominal, the gaps precede the head noun fillers. It has been suggested that when the gaps are close to the filler, the dependency is easier to construct; there is, thus, a processing advantage for object RCs over subject RCs (Hsiao & Gibson, 2003). The PRC data presented show that even in Chinese, a language with RCs that are head-final, it is possible to have a subject gap preference (over object) despite the fact that the subject is further away from the filler. Three experiments confirmed this subject preference with respect to naturalness and grammaticality ratings (Experiment 1), paraphrasing tasks (Experiment 2), and self-paced reading tasks (Experiment 3). The results support a theory of gap-searching which operates top down. Issues regarding locality and canonicity will also be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005
Event19th Pacific Asia Conference on Language, Information and Computation, PACLIC 19 - Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: Dec 1 2005Dec 3 2005

Other

Other19th Pacific Asia Conference on Language, Information and Computation, PACLIC 19
CountryTaiwan, Province of China
CityTaipei
Period12/1/0512/3/05

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)

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