Alternative Sets in Language Processing: How Focus by Nicole Gotzner

By Nicole Gotzner

This booklet provides a unique experimental method of investigating the psychological illustration of linguistic choices. Combining theoretical and psycholinguistic questions in regards to the nature of different units, it sheds new mild at the concept of concentration and the cognitive mechanisms underlying the processing of possible choices. In a sequence 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 primary means. This booklet is proper to researchers attracted to semantics, pragmatics, language processing and memory.

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Additional resources for Alternative Sets in Language Processing: How Focus Alternatives are Represented in the Mind

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Secondly, in Braun and Tagliapietra (2010), there were no differences across prosodic conditions when participants recognized non-contrastively associated target words. Husband and Ferreira (2016), on the other hand, found that non-contrastive targets were not facilitated in the neutral accenting condition at an SOA of 0 ms but were facilitated at the later SOA. But more importantly at an interpretational level Braun and Tagliapietra (2010) suggest that noncontrastive targets should not be differentially affected by prosody and that only contrastive accents should activate alternatives (or at least the priming effect should be stronger than in the neutral prosodic condition).

Jane only/_ has some [oranges]F ). While listening to the discourses, participants were presented with a visual display containing four items and were asked to click on the item Jane has (second character in critical sentence). The visual display contained the target item (a picture of oranges), a cohort competitor with the same phonological onset (a picture of oars), and two unrelated distractor items (pictures of pencils and mittens in the given example). What Kim found is that participants were faster at disambiguating the target from the cohort competitor when the discourses contained the particle only compared to no particle.

This is in line with the assumption that the function of focus is to introduce alternatives. Note that in these studies, no alternative set was listed in the context. The mousetracking study by Byram-Washburn (2013) found inhibition of unmentioned alternatives by contrastive accents at a later offset. For focus particles, however, the evidence was less consistent. The first lexical decision study by ByramWashburn (2013) found a facilitation of newly learned associates while mentioned semantic alternatives were neither facilitated nor inhibited.

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