S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 52 Number 1/3 (2016)
Processing Direct Object and Oblique Relative Clauses
- Kim, Chae-Eun
- Issue Date
- Language Research, Vol.52 No.2, pp. 151-170
- This study investigates whether native English speakers experience any processing difficulty in direct object and oblique relative clauses. Both of these relative clause types typically take inanimate heads and have a non-canonical word order in English, allowing this study to avoid animacy and word-order canonicity effects. The study compared both comprehension accuracy and total reading times for direct object relative clauses and oblique relative clauses. The fifty-two participants (1) comprehended direct object relative clauses more accurately than oblique relative clauses and (2) spent much more time reading oblique relative clauses than direct object relative clauses. The results indicate that direct object relatives are less complex than oblique relatives in English. Sentences with oblique relatives were more demanding to process than direct object relatives, and their difficulty increased at the region of the relative clause and the following regions. The findings support the effect of the length of the filler-gap dependency because dependencies between the filler and the gap are longer in oblique relatives than in direct object relatives.