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Not all wh-dependencies are created equal: processing of multiple wh-questions in Romanian children and adults

Bentea, A. and Marinis, T. (2021) Not all wh-dependencies are created equal: processing of multiple wh-questions in Romanian children and adults. Applied Psycholinguistics. ISSN 1469-1817

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/S0142716421000059

Abstract/Summary

The aim of this study was to examine the acquisition and processing of multiple who- and which-questions in Romanian that display ordering constraints and involve exhaustivity. Toward that aim, typically developing Romanian children (mean age 8.3) and adults participated in a self-paced listening experiment that simultaneously investigated online processing and offline comprehension of multiple wh-questions. The study manipulated the type of wh-phrase (who/which) and the order in which these elements appear (subject–object [SO]/object–subject [OS]). The response to the comprehension question could address the issue of exhaustivity because we measured whether participants used an exhaustive or a non-exhaustive response. Our findings reveal that both children and adults slow down when processing who- as compared to which-phrases, but only adults show an online sensitivity to ordering constraints in who-questions. Accuracy is higher with multiple who- than which-questions. The latter pose more difficulties for comprehension, particularly in the OS order. We relate this to intervention effects similar to those proposed for single which-questions. The lack of intervention effects in terms of reaction times indicates that these effects occur at a later stage, after participants have heard the whole sentence and when they interpret its meaning.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
ID Code:95439
Publisher:Cambridge University Press

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