Using eye-tracking to study anaphoric relations processing in European Portuguese

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Using eye-tracking to study anaphoric relations processing in European Portuguese

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Title: Using eye-tracking to study anaphoric relations processing in European Portuguese
Author: Costa, Armanda; Matos, Gabriela; Luegi, Paula
Abstract: In this study we evaluate processing costs of different types of anaphoric expressions during reading. We consider three types of anaphoric expressions in Subject sentential position: a null pronoun (pro), and two gaps produced by syntactic movement: a WHvariable and a NP copy. Given that coreferential pro exhibits more referential weight than wh- and NP-gaps, and grounded on theories of referential processing based on relations of hierarchy and accessibility of the antecedent, we raise the hypothesis that the more dependent on its antecedent the anaphoric null constituent is, and the more minimal is the distance in terms of hierarchical structure between the anaphoric null element and its antecedent, the lower are the cognitive costs in processing. To test our hypothesis, we registered the eye movements with R6-HS ASL system of 20 Portuguese adult native speakers. Text regions including the selected anaphoric expressions were delimited and tagged. We analyzed the reading time of each region taking into account the number and duration of eye fixations per region; we used the reading time by character in milliseconds in order to compare values between regions of different length. We found a significant advantage in the reading time of the gaps arising from movement over the reading time of pro.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10437/2310
Date: 2011


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