Nonfiction 14

Alternative Sets in Language Processing: How Focus by Nicole Gotzner

By Nicole Gotzner

This e-book provides a singular experimental method of investigating the psychological illustration of linguistic possible choices. Combining theoretical and psycholinguistic questions about the nature of other units, it sheds new gentle at the idea of concentration and the cognitive mechanisms underlying the processing of possible choices. In a chain of language comprehension experiments, the writer indicates that intonational concentration and concentration debris reminiscent of ‘only’ form the illustration of possible choices in a listener’s brain in a basic approach. This booklet is proper to researchers drawn to semantics, pragmatics, language processing and memory.

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Focal accents cause an exhaustivity implicature while focus particles affect the truth conditions of a sentence, either by restricting the input to the common ground in terms of a presupposition or by expressing an exhaustive assertion. 5 Factors Influencing the Perception of Contrast According to alternative semantics, focus evokes a set of alternatives. There might, however, be a different extent to which the alternatives are salient contextually and/or in the listener’s mind. For example, Calhoun (2009) distinguishes between so-called theoretical ‘kontrasts’ (foci in Rooth’s sense) and contrastiveness, taking contrastiveness to represent a speaker-intended salient contrast between particular elements (according to Umbach, 2004).

The present series of experiments investigates how recall of a dialog is modulated by the presence of focus-sensitive particles like only and even. 1 Focus and Alternatives in Language Comprehension If the focus structure of a sentence successfully reflects the intention of the speaker, it necessarily has consequences for how a sentence is processed and perceived by the listener. , Cutler & Fodor, 1976, 1979; Birch & Garnsey, 1995; Birch & Rayner, 1995, 2010; see also Cowles (2012) and Chap. 2 for an overview).

Finally, Chap. 7 provides an overview of all experimental findings concerning the retrieval of alternatives and presents the conclusions of this book. References Almor, A. (1999). Noun-phrase anaphora and focus: The informational load hypothesis. Psychological Review, 106, 748–756. , & Eimas, P. (2008). Focus and noun phrase anaphors in spoken language comprehension. Language and Cognitive Processes, 23, 201–225. , & Umbach, C. (2001). Kontrastprosodie in Sprachproduktion und -perzeption. Linguistische Arbeitsberichte, 77, 59–79.

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