Events

A doubly center-embedded (DCE) sentence in English with a missing verb phrase, e.g. 'The dog the rat the cat chased ran away,' is judged to be relatively acceptable despite being ungrammatical. In this talk, I discuss a novel related illusion for Mandarin Chinese DCE sentences missing a noun phrase, and how it differs from its English counterpart. To account for the illusory properties of DCE sentences in both languages, it is proposed that argument-predicate pairings are built in a more bottom-up fashion. As a result, the parser prematurely completes a noun-verb link in both languages, with different representational consequences. I contrast this account with an alternative account in which earlier predictions are “forgotten” (Gibson & Thomas 1999), showing that the data is inconsistent with the alternative account.