IN DEFENSE OF SERIAL PARSING
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With respect to syntactic ambiguity resolution, theories of the HSPM have to explain two related sets of findings: First, for (almost) all ambiguities a preference exists in favor of one of the alternative structures; second, disambiguation towards the non-preferred structure leads to processing difficulties—garden-path effects—of varying strengths. Serial models of the HSPM provide a framework which is perfectly suited to explain these two basic findings: The existence of a preference for one of the possible structures is an immediate consequence of the HSPM pursuing only a single structure at every point of the ongoing analysis. Differences in garden-path strength come about because the initial, erroneous structure has to be replaced by the correct structure, and this can require varying amounts of work. An important task in developing a serial model is to work out the details of this general schema of explanation. The model proposed in this book can be seen as an existence proof that this task is a feasible one.
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