Memory and Structure: Locality in sentence representation and processing

Lecturer: Nino Grillo (York)
Time: 9:30-11:00
Location: G15, Chandler House


Contrasts in grammaticality underpin an important hypothesis in theoretical linguistics: that a syntactic relation initiated by a node n has to be established with the closest possible element capable of satisfying ns needs; unnecessarily distant relationships give rise to ungrammaticality (Rizzi 1990, 2013 a.o.). Similar results have been found in Psycho and Neurolinguistics: the human parser operates according to locality principles that govern both structure building (as evidenced by preferences in the attachment of temporal modifiers) and filler-gap processes (as evidenced by active filler effects).

The course will focus on the interplay of grammatical and memory constraints giving rise to locality effects in sentence processing. Linguistic theoretical distinctions will be applied to current perspectives of memory mechanisms and their apparent cross-linguistic and cross-population variation. Experimental and theoretical issues at the interface of syntax with semantics, discourse and prosody will be discussed.

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