Filling the gap: Strategies for the processing of unbounded dependencies cross-linguistically (European Commission, Marie Curie Career Intergration Grant #631512, 2014-2018)
Much psycho- and neurolinguistic research has been dedicated to filler-gap dependencies, identifying the cognitive mechanisms and brain structures underlying the processing of these structures. However, this research tended to focus on languages with one shared property, namely the lack of grammaticized resumptive pronouns. The objective of the proposed project is to expand the empirical scope of the explorations of unbounded dependencies by investigating the processing of these constructions in Hebrew, a language in which gaps and resumptive pronouns alternate (relatively) freely.
The project focuses on two interrelated research questions:
1. Are differences between the grammars of languages reflected in processing? Specifically, are the same processing strategies employed in languages with and without resumptive pronouns?
2. Are resumptive pronouns easier to process than gaps, as is sometimes assumed in the literature?
These issues are addressed using cross-modal lexical priming and self-paced reading, as
well as event-related potentials and functional magnetic resonance imaging.