On Reanalyis: Evidence from German

  • Markus Bader
Part of the Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics book series (SITP, volume 24)


This paper will explore the question of how the phenomenon of variable garden-path strength might be modeled within a serial model of the human parsing mechanism. The basic property of a serial parser (cf. Frazier, 1979; Frazier & Fodor, 1979) is that it always computes a single, fully specified syntactic representation. This representation, which is called “current partial phrase marker” (CPPM), is continuously updated as each word is read. Due to the existence of local syntactic ambiguities, a serial parser will from time to time compute syntactic structures that are contradicted by following material. In such a situation, the original CPPM has to be revised in order to make it compatible with the current input. This paper will explore the question of what determines whether recovery from a syntactic misanalysis is easy or difficult: why do some misanalyses lead the parser down the garden-path while others are easy to recover from?


Phonological Code Thematic Role Ambiguous Sentence Pitch Accent Accusative Case 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abraham, W. (1995). Deutsche Syntax im Sprachenvergleich. Grundlegung einer typologischen Syntax des Deutschen. Tübingen: Narr Verlag.Google Scholar
  2. Bader, M. (1990). Syntaktische Prozesse beim Sprachverstehen. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Freiburg.Google Scholar
  3. Bader, M. (1994a). Sprachverstehen: Syntax und Prosodie beim Lesen. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Stuttgart.Google Scholar
  4. Bader, M. (1994b). Syntactic-function ambiguities. Folia Linguistica, 28, 5–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bader, M. (1996a). Prosodic effects and the distinction between primary and secondary phrases. Poster presented at the 2nd Conference on Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing, University of Turin.Google Scholar
  6. Bader, M. (1996b). Reanalysis in a modular architecture of the human sentence processing mechanism. Poster presented at the 7th CUNY Conference on Sentence Processing, CUNY, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Bader, M. (1996c). Syntactic and morphological contributions to processing subject-object ambiguities. Unpublished manuscript, University of Jena.Google Scholar
  8. Bader, M. (to appear). Prosodic influences on reading syntactically ambiguous sentences. In J. Fodor & F. Ferreira (Eds.), Reanalysis in sentence processing. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  9. Bader, M., Bayer, J., Hopf, J.-M., & Meng, M. (1996). Case-Assignment in processing German verb-final clauses. In Proceeding of the NELS 26 Workshop on Sentence Processing (MIT Occasional Papers in Linguistics, Vol. 9), 1–25.Google Scholar
  10. Bader, M., & Meng, M. (to appear). Subject-Object ambiguities in embedded clausesAn across the board comparison. Google Scholar
  11. Bader, M., & Meng, M. (in prep.). Case attraction phenomena in German. Google Scholar
  12. Bayer, J. (1996). Directionality and logical form. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  13. Black, M., Coltheart, M., & Byng, S. (1987). Forms of coding in sentence comprehension during reading. In M. Coltheart (Ed.), The psychology of reading (Attention and performance XII) (pp. 655–672). Hove, London & Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  14. Carlson, G. N., & Tanenhaus, M. K. (1988). Thematic roles and language comprehension. In W. Wilkins (Ed.), Syntax and semantics. Vol. 21. Thematic relations (pp. 263–288). San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  15. Chomsky, N. (1995). The minimalist program. Cambridge, MA: MIT PressGoogle Scholar
  16. Chomsky, N., & Lasnik, H. (1993). The theory of principles and parameters. In J. Jacobs, A. von Stechow, W. Sternefeld & T. Vennemann (Eds.), Syntax: An international handbook of contemporary research (pp. 506–569). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  17. den Besten, H. (1985). The ergative hypothesis and free word order in Dutch and German. In J. Toman (Ed.), Studies in German grammar (pp. 22). Dordrecht: Foris.Google Scholar
  18. De Vincenzi, M. (1991). Syntactic parsing strategies in Italian. Dordrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Duffy, S. A., Morris, R. K. & Rayner, K. (1988). Lexical ambiguity and fixation times in reading. Journal of Memory and Language, 27, 429–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Farke, H. (1994). Grammatik und Sprachverarbeitung. Zur Verarbeitung syntaktischer Ambiguität. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ferreira, F., & Henderson, J. M. (1991). Recovery from misanalysis of garden-path sentences. Journal of Memory and Language, 30, 725–745.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fodor, J. D., & Inoue, A. (1994). The diagnosis and cure of garden paths. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 23, 407–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ford, M., Bresnan, J., & Kaplan, R. M. (1982). A competence-based theory of syntactic closure. In J. Bresnan (Ed.) The mental representation of grammatical relations (pp. 727–766). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  24. Frazier, L., & Fodor, J. D. (1978). The sausage machine: A new two-stage parsing model. Cognition, 6, 291–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Frazier, L., & Rayner, K. (1990). Taking on semantic commitments: Processing multiple meanings vs. multiple senses. Journal of Memory and Language, 29, 181–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Frazier, L. (1979). On comprehending sentences: Syntactic parsing strategies. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Conneticut, Storrs.Google Scholar
  27. Fukui, N. (1986). A theory of category projections and its applications. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, MIT, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  28. Gathercole, S. E., & Baddeley, A. D. (1993). Working memory and language. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  29. Gibson, E. (1991). A computational theory of human linguistic processing. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  30. Gorrell, P. (1995). Syntax and parsing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Haag-Merz, C. (1995). Pronomen im Schwäbischen — Syntax und Erwerb. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Stuttgart.Google Scholar
  32. Haider, H. (1993) Deutsche Syntaxgenerativ. Vorstudien zu einer projektiven Theorie der Grammatik. Tübingen: Narr.Google Scholar
  33. Hemforth, B. (1993). Kognitives Parsing: Repräsentation und Verarbeitung grammatischen Wissens. Sankt Augustin: Infix Verlag.Google Scholar
  34. Höhle, T. N. (1982). Explikation für “normale Betonung” und “normale Wortstellung”. In W. Abraham (Ed.), Satzglieder im Deutschen. Vorschläge zur syntaktischen, semantischen und pragmatischen Fundierung (pp. 75–153). Tübingen: Narr.Google Scholar
  35. Inoue, A., & Fodor, J. D. (1995). Information-paced parsing of Japanese. In R. Mazuka & N. Nagai (Eds.), (pp. 9–63).Google Scholar
  36. Jackendoff, R. (1972). Semantic interpretation in generative grammar. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  37. Jacobs, J. (1992). Neutral stress and the position of heads. In J. Jacobs (Ed.), Informationsstruktur und Grammatik. Linguistische Berichte Sonderheft, Nr.4., 220–244.Google Scholar
  38. Just, M. A., Carpenter, P. A., & Wolley, J. D. (1982). Paradigms and processes in reading comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 111, 228–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kitagawa, Y. (1986). Subject in Japanese and English. Doctoral dissertation, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.Google Scholar
  40. Koopman, H., & Sportiche, D. (1991). The position of subjects. Lingua, 85, 211–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lenerz, J. (1977). Zur Abfolge nominaler Satzglieder im Deutschen. Tübingen: Narr.Google Scholar
  42. Lenerz, J. (1992). Zur Syntax der Pronomina im Deutschen. Sprache und Pragmatik, 29.Google Scholar
  43. MacDonald, M., Pearlmutter, N. J., & Seidenberg, M. S. (1994a). Lexical nature of syntactic ambiguity resolution. Psychological Review, 101, 676–703.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. MacDonald, M., Pearlmutter, N. J., & Seidenberg, M. S. (1994b). Syntactic ambiguity resolution as lexical ambiguity resolution. In C. Clifton Jr., L. Frazier & K. Rayner (Eds.), Perspectives on sentence processing (pp. 123–153). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  45. Meng, M. (1995). Processing Wh-Questions in German and Dutch: Differential effects of disambiguation and their interpretation. Poster presented at the 1995 “Architectures and Models for Language Processing” Conference (AMLaP), Edinburgh, December 1995.Google Scholar
  46. Meng, M. (1997). Die Verarbeitung von w-Fragen im Deutschen: Präferenzen und Reanalyseeffekte. Doctoral dissertation, University of Jena.Google Scholar
  47. Meng, M., & Bader, M. (1997). Syntax and morphology in sentence parsing: A new look at German subject-object ambiguities. Manuscript, University of Jena.Google Scholar
  48. Nespor, M., & Vogel, I. (1986). Prosodic phonology. Dordrecht: Foris.Google Scholar
  49. Patterson, K., & Coltheart, V. (1987) Phonological processes in reading. A tutorial review. In M. Coltheart (Ed.), The psychology of reading (Attention and performance XII) (pp.421–447). Hove, London & Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  50. Pritchett, B. L. (1992). Grammatical competence and parsing performance. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  51. Rayner, K., & Pollatsek, A. (1989). The psychology of reading. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  52. Riemsdijk, H. van, & Williams, E. (1986). Introduction to the theory of grammar. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  53. Rochemont, M. S. (1986). Focus in generative grammar. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  54. Ross, J. (1967). Constraints on variables in syntax. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, MIT, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  55. Schriefers, H., Friederici, A. D., & Kühn, K. (1995). The processing of locally ambiguous relative clauses in German. Journal of Memory and Language, 34, 499–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Selkirk, E. (1984). Phonology and Syntax: The relation between sound and structure. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  57. Selkirk, E. (1986). On derived domains in sentence phonology. Phonology Yearbook, 3, 371–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Simpson, G. B. (1994). Context and the processing of ambiguous words. In M. A. Gernsbacher (Ed.), Handbook of Psycholinguistics (pp. 359–374). San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  59. Stechow, A. von (1991). Current issues in the theory of focus. In A. von Stechow & D. Wunderlich (Eds.), Semantik: Ein internationales Handbuch der zeitgenössischen Forschung (pp. 804–825). Berlin & New York: De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  60. Swinney, D. A. (1979). Lexical access during sentence comprehension: (Re)consideration of context effects. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 18, 645–660.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Tanenhaus, M. K., Carlson, G., & Trueswell, J. C. (1989). The role of thematic structures in interpretation and parsing. Language and Cognitive Processes, 3/4, 211–234.Google Scholar
  62. Trueswell, J. C, & Tanenhaus, M. K. (1994). Toward a lexicalist framework of constraint-based syntactic ambiguity resolution. In C. Clifton Jr., I. Frazier & K. Rayner (Eds.), Perspectives on sentence processing (pp. 155–179). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  63. Weinberg, A. (1993). Parameters in the theory of sentence processing: Minimal commitment theory goes east. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 22, 338–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wilkenfeld, D. C. (1985). Encoding prosody in silent reading. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Connecticut.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Markus Bader
    • 1
  1. 1.Friedrich-Schiller-Universität JenaGermany

Personalised recommendations