Is There a Particular RC Attachment Preference in Turkish? Negotiating the Effects of Semantic Factors

Autor(en): Baser, Zeynep
Hohenberger, Annette
Stichwörter: Ambiguity resolution; Complex genitive-possessive construction; COMPLEXITY; CONFIGURATION; EXPOSURE; First language processing; Linguistics; PERSISTENCE; Psychology; Psychology, Experimental; RELATIVE CLAUSE ATTACHMENT; SPANISH; SYNTACTIC AMBIGUITY RESOLUTION; Turkish; WORKING-MEMORY
Erscheinungsdatum: 2020
Volumen: 49
Ausgabe: 4, SI
Startseite: 511
Seitenende: 539
The goal of this study is to investigate whether or not Turkish has a particular preference in ambiguity resolution of relative clause attachment when two possible NPs are available as in ``Someone shot [NP1 the servant] of [NP2 the actress] [RC who was on the balcony]& x2ee;. The relevant literature has showed that RC attachment preferences-whether NP1 or NP2-vary across languages, which results in contradictory evidence if some universal processing principle is assumed. Turkish differs typologically from English and other European languages in the construction of RC using complex ``genitive-possessor'' construction. In order to make a valid cross-linguistic comparison it is therefore of particular importance to carefully control potential extraneous factors which might obstruct true attachment preferences-if they exist. The present study, which controls various confounding factors, reveals that both syntactic and non-syntactic factors should be taken into consideration when constructing the stimulus sentences for testing attachment ambiguity resolution. Specifically, we propose that the semantic relations (e.g. part-whole relations) between the noun phrases of the genitive-possessive construction and the semantic associations with the proximal as well as with the distal predicate play a key role in the attachment preferences of monolingual Turkish native speakers in this type of ambiguous sentences. When these extraneous factors were controlled, no preference was observed.
ISSN: 00906905
DOI: 10.1007/s10936-020-09698-4

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