Linguistic Term Paper

Ling 132: Language Processing Summer 2019

Term Paper Materials

 

Feel free to copy-paste material from this document to your paper. Some material has been condensed on purpose, as your task is to present it as clearly and logically as possible, in full sentences and in your own words.

 

 

General Design

 

Self-paced reading experiment

N=15 (9 native speakers who were exposed to English in an immersive environment by age 8, 6 non-native speakers)

20 experimental items manipulating relative clause (RC) attachment (High, Low, Ambiguous vs Ungrammatical) using the number of the RC verb (e.g. was/were)

Sentences presented in a random order along with 40 filler sentences (10 of which also contained RCs)

Half of the sentences followed by comprehension questions

Within-participant design: each participant saw 5 sentences from each experimental condition

 

 

Experimental Findings

 

Full dataset

 

Picture 1

 

 

Native speakers only

 

 

Picture 5

 

 

 

 

Non-native speakers

 

Picture 7

 

 

Experimental Instructions (these were presented to the participants at the beginning of the experiment)

 

Welcome. In this experiment, you’ll be reading some sentences on the computer screen, masked by dash marks, like this:

 

 

——– —- ————– ——– —- ——- ———-

 

 

These dashes cover words in a sentence. Pressing the space bar will reveal the first few words. Pressing the space bar again will hide those words and reveal the next few words. Continue reading the sentence phrase by phrase at a natural pace until you have read the entire sentence. Press the space bar as soon as you have finished reading.

 

In some cases, when you finish reading, the dashes will disappear and you will see a question printed in CAPS about the sentence you just read. Try to answer as naturally and accurately as possible. Use the “f” and “j” keys to choose between the two possible answers for each question.

 

To be able to read and answer quickly, you should keep your thumbs resting on the space bar and your index fingers on the “f” and “j” keys, so that you don’t have to look down at the keys to answer. You can use whichever hand is most comfortable for you to press the space bar.

 

The computer will record the time between your button presses as well as your answers to the comprehension questions. Please read at a natural pace, paying attention to the content of the sentences.

 

You may take breaks before starting to read a new sentence. Please do not take break while reading a sentence or when answering a question. If you decide you cannot continue the experiment, you may leave at any time.

 

That’s all there is to it. Just to review, this is how the experiment goes:

 

 

1. Some dashes will appear on the screen and you must press the space bar to see each new section of the sentence.

 

2. Read at a natural rate, comprehending what you read. Don’t read out loud unless that’s the way you normally read.

 

3. You’ll see a question about the sentence and should answer by pressing either the “f” or “j” keys.

 

4. After the question, the computer will automatically go on to the next sentence.

 

When the experiment is over, a screen will appear telling you to stop. At that point, you should let Marju know you are finished.

 

 

If you have any questions about the procedure, ask Marju now. You will have an opportunity to practice on the following screens.

 

If you are ready to start with the practice sentences, please put on the headphones for white noise.

Experimental Items (the boundaries between presentation regions are shown with |, the items that had a question following it show the question below. All participants had at least 70% accuracy on the experimental item questions. There were no significant differences between the four conditions in how accurate people were on comprehension questions.)

 

(1) Everybody was proud of | the singer(s) | next to the host(s) | who was | extremely popular, | as the party | was a big success.

Question: WAS SOMEONE POPULAR? YES/NO

 

(2) I felt really disappointed by | the chef(s) | near the maid(s) | who were | very chatty, | as the food | was undercooked.

Question: WAS THE FOOD WELL-PREPARED? NO/YES

 

(3) We all disliked | the neighbour(s) | next to the actor(s) | who was | always throwing parties, | but luckily we moved out | very soon.

Question: WHAT WAS ALWAYS BEING THROWN? PARTIES/FOOD

 

(4) I respected | the assistant(s) | in front of the performer(s) | who were | always well-dressed, | but we did not have | a close relationship.

 

(5) Somebody resented | the manager(s) | next to the model(s) | who was | planning to buy an apartment, | but the reason why | was unclear to me.

Question: WHAT WAS SOMEONE PLANNING TO BUY? AN APARTMENT/A CAR

 

(6) My mother hated | the baker(s) | behind the man/men | who were | often featured on television, | but my siblings were tired | of hearing her complain.

 

(7) Everybody was fascinated by | the parent(s) | in front of the artist(s) | who was | dancing the waltz, | but I personally | was not impressed.

Question: WHAT DANCE WAS BEING PERFORMED? THE WALTZ/THE TANGO

 

(8) I was worried about | the worker(s) | in front of the engineer(s) | who were | sitting near my sister’s house, | as a storm | recently came into town.

Question: HOW WAS THE WEATHER? GOOD/BAD

 

(9) I have always adored | the pilot(s) | near the judge(s) | who is | eighty years old, | for as long | as I can remember.

 

(10) We were all suspicious of | the banker(s) | near the officer(s) | who have | bought multiple expensive cars, | although nobody liked | to admit it.

 

(11) We all put up with | the teenager(s) | next to the teacher(s) | who was | always angry, | because we wanted | to be polite.

 

(12) All of the guests loved | the boy(s) | behind the waiter(s) | who were | taking English classes, | yet nobody seemed | to talk about it.

 

(13) We were all concerned about | the client(s) | near the cook(s) | who was | in a bad mood, | but I didn’t have time | to address the problem.

 

(14) My family liked | the painter(s) | in front of the nurse(s) | who were | always cheerful, | but I tried very hard | to stay out of it.

 

(15) All of the children knew | the mechanic(s) | next to the mayor(s) | who was | talking loudly, | but the kids were too shy | to start a conversation.

Question: HOW WERE THE KIDS? SHY/OUTGOING

 

(16) Everyone admired | the author(s) | next to the actress(es) | who were | wearing black sweaters, | but I was too busy | to care.

Question: DID I HAVE A LOT OF FREE TIME? NO/YES

 

(17) The school’s staff was impressed by | the student(s) | near the dean(s) | who was | singing loudly, | but many teachers | had a different opinion.

Question: WHO WAS IMPRESSED? THE STAFF/THE TEACHERS

 

(18) The whole town adored | the barber(s) | next to the dad(s) | who were | always lucky with cards, | but I never understood | the reason why.

 

(19) I detested | the lady/ladies | near the farmer(s) | who was | constantly yelling, | though I never expressed | how I felt.

 

(20) Nobody cared about | the woman/women | next to the attendant(s) | who were | busy on the phone, | as the other passersbys | were more interesting.

Question: WHO DID NOBODY CARE ABOUT? THE WOMAN/WOMEN / THE PASSERSBYS

 

 

 

Filler Items (The items that had a question following it show the question below. All participants had at least 95% accuracy on the filler item questions.)

 

(21) As luck would have it, shatterproof glass was invented as a result of a mistake in a chemistry laboratory.

Question: WHERE WAS SHATTERPROOF GLASS INVENTED? A CHEMISTRY LAB/A PHYSICS LAB

 

(22)Quite often, John took his mail to the post office before driving the kids to school.

 

 

(23) On the topic of climate change, one journalist said that he hopes people will look for ways to print less.

Question: WHO HOPES PEOPLE WILL PRINT LESS? A POLITICIAN/A JOURNALIST

 

(24) While it’s true that I’ve often flown through Philly, I’ve never actually stayed there.

 

(25) The TV host was admiring herself in the mirror during the makeup session.

 

(26) Opera singers were often of the aristocratic class in 19th century Europe.

Question: WHAT CLASS WERE OPERA SINGERS IN? THE MIDDLE CLASS/THE ARISTOCRACY

 

(27) China used to be a very difficult place to travel to, and securing a visa was nearly impossible.

Question: WHERE WAS IT DIFFICULT TO TRAVEL TO? CHINA/CHILE

 

(28) High school students must take classes in math and literature, in addition to their electives.

Question: WHAT CLASS MUST HIGH SCHOOLERS TAKE? MUSIC/MATH

 

(29) Since the Ancient Egyptians, dogs have lived alongside humans as pets.

Question: SINCE WHEN HAVE DOGS BEEN KEPT AS PETS? ANCIENT ROME/ANCIENT EGYPT

 

(30) As rush hour traffic has gotten worse, traffic reports have become more popular.

Question: WHAT HAS GOTTEN WORSE? RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC/CRIME RATES

 

(31) Cell phones are the primary method by which people talk and keep in touch.

 

(32) One of the most popular acts on vaudeville was the Marx Brothers, who later became quite famous.

Question: WHERE DID THE MARX BROTHERS PERFORM? VAUDEVILLE/RADIO

 

(33) The doctor consulted an attorney, but I don’t know which one it was at the moment.

Question: WHAT DON’T I KNOW? WHICH DOCTOR IT WAS/WHICH ATTORNEY IT WAS

 

(34) The dancer mocked a musician, but I don’t remember which one it was right now.

Question: WHAT DON’T I REMEMBER? WHICH DANCER IT WAS/WHICH MUSICIAN IT WAS

 

(35) An editor called a journalist, but I can’t say which one it was anymore.

 

(36) A waitress mentioned a customer, but I don’t recall which one it was in the end.

 

(37) John texted a student, but I don’t know when he did.

 

(38) Lex saluted a soldier, but I don’t know why he did.

 

(39) Ali asked Jacob to go to the spring dance with her but he was going away that weekend.

Question: WHERE DID ALI ASK JACOB TO GO? TO THE FOOTBALL GAME/TO THE SPRING DANCE

 

(40) Tyler asked whether his roommate would mind waking him up the morning of his big exam.

 

(41) Ronald asked his mother if he could borrow some money for the weekend.

Question: WHO DID RONALD ASK FOR MONEY? HIS FATHER/HIS MOTHER

 

(42) Stan asked to leave class early in order to pick up his sister at the airport.

Question: WHO DID STAN WANT TO PICK UP AT THE AIRPORT? HIS GIRLFRIEND/HIS SISTER

 

(43) My problem is that I get bored too easily when I’m alone.

 

(44) The truck backed into the stadium wall and everyone was scared it was an earthquake.

 

(45) An old man was found wandering around Venice Beach yesterday looking for his dog.

Question: WHAT WAS THE MAN LOOKING FOR? HIS CAR/HIS DOG

 

(46) Many people were impatiently waiting in line at the opening of the big new movie.

 

(47) The film star had never forgotten his roots and always donated a portion of his earnings to charity.

 

(48) The grey whale often swims in enormous pods and can communicate with its mates over vast distances.

 

(49) Sally smiled at the boys that were playing with the action figure, but they didn’t seem to care at all.

Question: WHAT DID SALLY DO? SMILE/FROWN

 

(50) Beth turned on the computer near her colleagues who were rushing to finish a project, and nobody seemed to notice.

 

(51) The children played with the dog that had black fur, while they waited for their parents to arrive.

Question: WHAT COLOR WAS THE DOG? BLACK/WHITE

 

(52) The graduate students consulted Google and the professor that was more knowledgeable about the topic, before submitting the paper.

Question: WHAT WERE THE STUDENTS SUBMITTING? A PAPER/AN ABSTRACT

 

(53) The students bought the computer on the black shelf which had recently gone on sale, before going back to school in the fall.

 

(54) Nobody ate the chocolates inside of the car that were melting, because they did not look appetizing.

 

(55) Bill bought the truck near the station wagons, which was newer than the other models at the dealership.

 

(56) John spilled the coffee next to the sugar packets that he had recently purchased, so he was tired for the rest of the day.

Question: WHAT WAS SPILLED? COFFEE/TEA

 

(57) Michelle translated the book written by Stephen which was originally in French, so that more people could read it.

 

(58) Tony bought a soccer ball used by Cristiano Ronaldo that was red in color, and paid a fortune for it.

Question: WHAT COLOR WAS THE BALL? RED/WHITE

 

(59) The small boy burst into tears when he realized he had broken both toys that his grandfather gave him.

Question: HOW DOES THE BOY FEEL? UPSET/GLAD

 

(60) Both of the zookeepers rushed to the reptile exhibit when they heard reports of a snake escaping its cage.