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Resumptive Pronouns Can Ameliorate Illicit Island Extractions

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Lauren AckermanORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by MIT Press, 2018.

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Syntax literature reports that resumptive pronouns (RPs) ameliorate island violations, but much psycholinguistic literature has found RPs to be no more acceptable than straightforwardly island-violating gaps, in spite of the fact that island production tasks consistently elicit RPs. However, prior psycholinguistic studies have typically compared RP and illicit gap conditions indirectly. We posit that RP island amelioration in comprehension is undetectable when subjects cannot engage in comparison of alternative sentences, and thus that the apparent production- comprehension split arises from methodological differences between perception and production experiments. We present six experiments crossing three island types in two tasks (full sentence forced choice and forced choice fill-in-the-blank), manipulating gap location (Island vs Nonisland). We find that RPs are preferred in Islands and gaps in Nonislands (p=0.0001). This suggests that RPs do ameliorate island violations and that the production-comprehension split is a methodological artifact.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ackerman L, Frazier M, Yoshida M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Linguistic Inquiry

Year: 2018

Volume: 49

Issue: 4

Pages: 847-849

Online publication date: 10/10/2018

Acceptance date: 18/04/2017

Date deposited: 30/05/2017

ISSN (print): 0024-3892

ISSN (electronic): 1530-9150

Publisher: MIT Press


DOI: 10.1162/ling_a_00291


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