S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 51 Number 1/3 (2015)
The Distance Effect in the Processing of English Oblique RCs
- Kim, Chae-Eun
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.51 No.3, pp. 517-535
- This study investigates whether native speakers of English indicate any difficulty in processing two types of oblique relative clauses, both involving a directional prepositional phrase. Previous work on sentence processing with native English speakers has shown that subject RCs were read faster than direct object RCs in a self-paced reading task. However, the previous research is problematic due to uncontrolled ani-macy of heads, comparison between canonical and non-canonical word-order structures, and the frequency factor. Therefore, the present study tests oblique RCs with different lengths of filler-gap dependency in order to separate the effects of distance between the filler and the gap in English relative clauses from the effects of other factors. The study examines the comprehension accuracy and total reading times of 40 adult native speakers who read stimuli with English oblique relative clauses in an on-line reading task. Overall, the results show that the participants had lower accuracy scores on the oblique RCs with a long filler-gap dependency (FGD) than on the oblique RCs with a short FGD. In addition, they had more difficulty processing the oblique RCs with a long FGD than oblique RCs with a short FGD, and this difficulty increased in the relative clause and main verb regions, as indicated by longer reading times. The results support and effect of the length of the filler-gap dependency on processing.