Effects of punctuation on the processing of syntactically ambiguous japanese sentences with a semantic bias

Keiyu Niikuni, Toshiaki Muramoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study explored the effects of a comma on the processing of structurally ambiguous Japanese sentences with a semantic bias. A previous study has shown that a comma which is incompatible with an ambiguous sentence's semantic bias affects the processing of the sentence, but the effects of a comma that is compatible with the bias are unclear. In the present study, we examined the role of a comma compatible with the sentence's semantic bias using the self-paced reading method, which enabled us to determine the reading times for the region of the sentence where readers would be expected to solve the ambiguity using semantic information (the "target region"). The results show that a comma significantly increases the reading time of the punctuated word but decreases the reading time in the target region. We concluded that even if the semantic information provided might be sufficient for disambiguation, the insertion of a comma would affect the processing cost of the ambiguity, indicating that readers use both the comma and semantic information in parallel for sentence processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-216
Number of pages7
JournalShinrigaku Kenkyu
Volume85
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jun

Keywords

  • Punctuation
  • Semantic information
  • Sentence comprehension
  • Syntactic ambiguity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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