Ambiguity in Psycholinguistics by Joseph F. Kess

By Joseph F. Kess

The authors current a entire review of prior examine in ambiguity within the box of psycholinguistics. Experimental effects have frequently been equivocal in permitting a decision among the single-reading speculation and the multiple-reading speculation of processing of ambiguous sentences. this article studies the arguments and experimental leads to help of every of those perspectives, and extra investigates the contributions of context and thematic constraints within the strategy of ambiguity solution. remark can be made at the attainable hierarchical ordering of trouble within the therapy of ambiguity, in addition to seriously similar issues like bias, person adjustments, common cognitive concepts for facing multiphase representations, and the inherent variations among lexical and syntactic ambiguity.

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Several other studies also offer congruent observations about am­ biguity-sensitive tasks. For example, Mistler-Lachman's (1972) depthof-comprehension study shows that ambiguity slows processing time when it has an effect. She found that sentence completion and context inte­ gration do show themselves to be sensitive to ambiguity, but not all tasks do. Judging whether a sentence is meaningful or not, for example, does not appear to be sensitive to ambiguity resolution. In a (1970) study Foss introduced the phoneme monitoring task to the study of ambiguity, the results of which the multiple reading hyp­ othesis as well.

Surface struc- MULTIPLE READING HYPOTHESIS 31 ture ambiguity reflects two distinct syntactic groupings of adjacent words in the string. For example, sentences like Old men and women were given first priority for the lifeboats and The cute child's dress drew everybody's attention are exemplars of this type. Deep structure ambig­ uity, on the other hand, reflects different logical relational sets be­ tween words or phrases in the sentence. For example, The city council ordered the police relatives to stop drinking can be a nuisance within the city limits and Visiting are exemplars of this type.

But under its original version -- Rapid with his uninjured hand saved from loss the contents ' of the capsized canoe it seems that the phonemic string is taken as represent­ ing the verb 'to write' and not the other verb 'to right'. Its meaning is accessed with this hierarchically prior entry in mind and when it becomes apparent that this more common verb is not the correct one, other possibilities are searched for. Such garden path sentences are not that common and present cases of ambiguity where our processing mechanisms perhaps become conscious to us.

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