Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 827–845 | Cite as

Disambiguation and Integration in Korean Relative Clause Processing

  • Michael Mansbridge
  • Sunju Park
  • Katsuo TamaokaEmail author


Previous studies on Korean relative clauses (RC) show that, with respect to processing, object-extracted relative clauses (ORC) are more difficult to process at the head noun than subject-extracted relative clauses within temporarily ambiguous contexts. ORCs, however, are predicted by experience-based processing models to incur a greater processing cost during early processing stages at the RC verb, since it is a likely locus of disambiguation for RCs in Korean, and because ORCs are a less frequent structure. Consequently, the current study investigates whether processing difficulty for ORCs manifests itself at the RC verb using eye-tracking methods, a simple sentence structure and a sentential-decision task. The results revealed significantly increased go-past reading times for ORCs at the RC verb. We believe this is a result of a less frequent structure being more difficult to parse during disambiguation. Accordingly, experience-based models of processing can accurately predict difficulty for ORCs in Korean.


Korean Relative clauses Eye-tracking Experience Ambiguity 



We would also like to thank the participants at the AMLaP 2015 ‘Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing’ for their insightful comments. Additionally, we would like extend our gratitude to our reviewer for their helpful comments on this paper. Lastly, we would like to express our appreciation to Professor Sugiura of the Graduate School of International Development at Nagoya University for allowing us to use his eyetracker. This study was funded in part by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Grant Number 16K13242 (principal researcher: Katsuo Tamaoka), and the Grand-In-Aid for JSPS doctoral course fellows granted to Michael P. Mansbridge (15J03336).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest


Human and Animal Rights Statement

All personal information collected from participants was stored in a secured location, and participants were given pseudonyms for data analysis purposes. Participants were not subject to harm and could only experience mild discomfort from prolong seating or eye discomfort from prolong reading.

Informed Consent

In the current study, all participants gave informed consent and received monetary compensation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Mansbridge
    • 1
  • Sunju Park
    • 1
  • Katsuo Tamaoka
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Languages and CulturesNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Languages and CulturesNagoya UniversityNagoya-shiJapan

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