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Open AccessArticle

Syntactic Comprehension of Relative Clauses and Center Embedding Using Pseudowords

1
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST), Daegu 42988, Korea
2
Department of Korean Language, Kyung Hee University, Yongin 17104, Korea
3
Department of Psychology, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Korea
4
Department of English, Cyber Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul 02450, Korea
5
Partner Group of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences at the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, DGIST, Daegu 42988, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These two authors contributed equally.
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(4), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10040202
Received: 28 February 2020 / Revised: 27 March 2020 / Accepted: 30 March 2020 / Published: 31 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behavioral and Cognitive Neurodynamics)
Relative clause (RC) formation and center embedding (CE) are two primary syntactic operations fundamental for creating and understanding complex sentences. Ample evidence from previous cross-linguistic studies has revealed several similarities and differences between RC and CE. However, it is not easy to investigate the effect of pure syntactic constraints for RC and CE without the interference of semantic and pragmatic interactions. Here, we show how readers process CE and RC using a self-paced reading task in Korean. More interestingly, we adopted a novel self-paced pseudoword reading task to exploit syntactic operations of the RC and CE, eliminating the semantic and pragmatic interference in sentence comprehension. Our results showed that the main effects of RC and CE conform to previous studies. Furthermore, we found a facilitation effect of sentence comprehension when we combined an RC and CE in a complex sentence. Our study provides a valuable insight into how the purely syntactic processing of RC and CE assists comprehension of complex sentences. View Full-Text
Keywords: syntactic hierarchy; merge; embedding; self-paced reading syntactic hierarchy; merge; embedding; self-paced reading
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cheon, K.-H.; Kim, Y.; Yoon, H.-D.; Nam, K.-C.; Lee, S.-Y.; Jeon, H.-A. Syntactic Comprehension of Relative Clauses and Center Embedding Using Pseudowords. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 202. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10040202

AMA Style

Cheon K-H, Kim Y, Yoon H-D, Nam K-C, Lee S-Y, Jeon H-A. Syntactic Comprehension of Relative Clauses and Center Embedding Using Pseudowords. Brain Sciences. 2020; 10(4):202. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10040202

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cheon, Kyung-Hwan; Kim, Youngjoo; Yoon, Hee-Dong; Nam, Ki-Chun; Lee, Sun-Young; Jeon, Hyeon-Ae. 2020. "Syntactic Comprehension of Relative Clauses and Center Embedding Using Pseudowords" Brain Sci. 10, no. 4: 202. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10040202

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