Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 245–265 | Cite as

Phrasing Effects in Comprehending PP Constructions

Original Article


The role of prosodic phrasing in sentence comprehension was investigated by means of three different tasks, namely auditory word monitoring (Experiment 1), self-paced reading (Experiment 2) and cross-modal comparison (Experiment 3). In all three experiments a critical prosodic unit or frame comprising a determiner, a noun and a Prepositional Phrase (PP) was preceded or surrounded by two context prosodic units (frames) whose length was varied. The participants’ tendency to interpret the critical sequence as forming a single syntactic constituent (noun–complement interpretation of the PP) as opposed to two distinct syntactic constituents (verb–complement interpretation of the PP) was found to depend on the relative length of the critical and context prosodic units (frames). As a whole these results are consistent with the notion that phrasing effects occur in a retroactive way, after part of the utterance has been processed.


Phrasing Prosody PP attachment Syntactic parsing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRS and Université de ProvenceAix-en-ProvenceFrance

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