Christensen, Ken Ramshøj4; Kizach, Johannes5; Nyvad, Anne Mette4
1 School of Communication and Culture - Department of English, School of Communication and Culture, Arts, Aarhus University2 Department of Clinical Medicine - Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, Department of Clinical Medicine, Health, Aarhus University3 School of Communication and Culture - Linguistics, School of Communication and Culture, Arts, Aarhus University4 School of Communication and Culture - Department of English, School of Communication and Culture, Arts, Aarhus University5 School of Communication and Culture - Linguistics, School of Communication and Culture, Arts, Aarhus University
In the formal syntax literature, it is commonly assumed that there is a constraint on linguistic competence that blocks extraction of WH-expressions (e.g. what or which book) from embedded questions, referred to as WH-islands. Furthermore, it is assumed that there is an argument/adjunct asymmetry in such island contexts. We report results from two acceptability judgment experiments on long and short WH-movement and WH-movement from WH-islands in Danish. The results revealed four main findings: (1) No adjunct/argument asymmetry in extraction from WH-islands. (2) Long adjunct WH-movement is less acceptable than long argument WH-movement, and this difference is most likely attributable to the parsing principle called Early Attachment which triggers temporary anomaly when applied to adjuncts. (3) Long movement reduces acceptability, but is more acceptable than an island violation. (4) Training effects reveal that WH-island violations, though degraded, are grammatical in Danish. Since the standard assumptions cannot account for the range of results, we argue in favor of a processing account referring to Locality (processing domains) and Working Memory.
Language; Neurolinguistics; Parsing; Syntax; working memory; wh-movement; Word order; Acceptability; grammaticality; locality; Training effects; priming; Language comprehension; Danish; Linguistics; Neuroscience; Cognition; cognitive neuroscience; psycholinguistics