Avoid the Pedestrian’s Paradox

  • Edward P. StablerJr.
Part of the Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy book series (SLAP, volume 44)


Mark Steedman (1989) has suggested that each of the following assumptions about human language understanding is appealing, but that they lead to a paradox when taken together:
  1. 1.

    Incremental comprehension: Human natural language understanding is serial and incremental: the words of a sentence are interpreted rapidly as they are heard or read.

  2. 2.

    Right-branching syntactic structures: English, like other SVO and SOV languages, has predominantly right-branching syntactic structures.

  3. 3.

    Strong competence hypothesis: The principles of the competence grammar are directly used by the human language processor in constructing a syntactic structure and interpreting it.



Noun Phrase Syntactic Structure Parse Tree Phrase Structure Rule Syntactic Constituent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward P. StablerJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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