Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 151-175

First online:

Constituent Length Affects Prosody and Processing for a Dative NP Ambiguity in Korean

  • Hyekyung HwangAffiliated withDepartment of Linguistics and Centre for Research on Language, Mind and Brain, McGill University
  • , Amy J. SchaferAffiliated withDepartment of Linguistics, 569 Moore Hall, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Email author 

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Two sentence processing experiments on a dative NP ambiguity in Korean demonstrate effects of phrase length on overt and implicit prosody. Both experiments controlled non-prosodic length factors by using long versus short proper names that occurred before the syntactically critical material. Experiment 1 found that long phrases induce different prosodic phrasing than short phrases in a read-aloud task and change the preferred interpretation of globally ambiguous sentences. It also showed that speakers who have been told of the ambiguity can provide significantly different prosody for the two interpretations, for both lengths. Experiment 2 verified that prosodic patterns found in first-pass pronunciations predict self-paced reading patterns for silent reading. The results extend the coverage of the Implicit Prosody Hypothesis [Fodor, J Psycholinguist Res 27:285–319, 1998; Prosodic disambiguation in silent reading. In M. Hirotani (Ed.), NELS 32 (pp. 113–132). Amherst, MA: GLSA Publications, 2002] to another construction and to Korean. They further indicate that strong syntactic biases can have rapid effects on the formulation of implicit prosody.


Prosody Korean Sentence production Sentence comprehension Reading