Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 255–263 | Cite as

Judgments of Processing Load in Japanese: The Effect of NP-ga Sequences

  • Keiko Uehara


This study reports an effect of more than two consecutive noun phrases (NPs) with the same nominative case marker, -ga, on ratings of processability for Japanese multiply center-embedded sentences. The findings imply that the processing overload theory of Babyonyshev and Gibson (1995) requires modification. Although that theory sets the critical limit (beyond which parser breakdown occurs) at four processing load units (PLUs), it appears that the parser is overloaded by anything over five PLUs. where a three NP-ga sequence contributes roughly an additional PLU to processing cost. The evidence also suggests that inherently cased NPs are not cost free.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Babyonyshev, M., & Gibson, E. (1995). Processing overload in Japanese. In C. Schütze, J. Ganger, & K. Broiler (Eds.), Papers on language processing and acquisition (MIT Working Papers in Linguistics, Vol. 26). Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.Google Scholar
  2. Barnes, J. (1995). Letters from London. London: Picador.Google Scholar
  3. De Vincenzi, M. (1991). Syntactic parsing strategies in Italian. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluer.Google Scholar
  4. Inoue, A. (1991). A comparative study of parsing in English and Japanese. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The University of Connecticut.Google Scholar
  5. Kuno, S. (1973). The structure of the Japanese language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  6. Kuno, S. (1978). Danwa-no bunpoo. Tokyo: Taishuukan.Google Scholar
  7. Lewis, R. L. (1993). An architecturally-based theory of human sentence comprehension. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Carnegie Mellon University.Google Scholar
  8. Longobardi, G. (1980). Remarks on infinitives: A case for a filter. Journal of Italian Syntax, 1/2, 101–155.Google Scholar
  9. Miyagawa, S. (1994). Case, agreement, and ga/no conversion. In S. Choi (Ed.), Japanese/Korean Linguistica (Vol. 3). Stanford, CA. CSLI.Google Scholar
  10. Nagai, N. (1995). Constraints on topics and their gaps: From a parsing perspective. In R. Mazuka & N. Nagai (Eds.), Japanese sentence processing. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  11. Ookuma, S. (1991). Saishin bunshoo-no tsukurikata jitsureijiten. Tokyo: Shufu-to-seikatsu-sha.Google Scholar
  12. Rosenbaum, H., & Kim, K. (1976). Factors affecting comprehension in Korean and English self-embedded structures. Working Papers on Language Universals, 20, 43–57.Google Scholar
  13. Ross, J. R. (1973). Double-Ing. Linguistic Inquiry, 3, 61–86.Google Scholar
  14. Stabler, E. P. (1994). The finite connectivity of linguistic structure. In C. Clifton, Jr., L. Frazier, & K. Rayner (Eds.), Perspectives on sentence processing. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  15. Uehara, K. (1996, March). The effect of-ga sequences on judged processing load in Japanese. Unpublished manuscript, summary of poster, presented at the 9th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keiko Uehara
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.The Graduate Center of The City University of New YorkNew York
  2. 2.Program in LinguisticsThe Graduate School and University Center, The City University of New YorkNew York

Personalised recommendations