garden-path sentence


  • This causes dissonance at the end of the sentence, and forces back-tracking to recover the proper usage and sense (and different pronunciation) of the first word of the sentence,
    not as the adjective meaning “contemporary”, but as the verb meaning “going mouldy”: • ‘Most of all, it is the picture frames in this exhibition that are becoming mouldy, because they are made out of wood and had been stored in the dank cellar.’

  • Therefore, the original misinterpretation of the sentence remains even after the re-analysis is done; hence participants’ final interpretations are often incorrect.

  • It is a special type of sentence that creates a momentarily ambiguous interpretation because it contains a word or phrase that can be interpreted in multiple ways, causing
    the reader to begin to believe that a phrase will mean one thing when in reality it means something else.

  • The garden-path sentence effect occurs when the sentence has a phrase or word with an ambiguous meaning that the reader interprets in a certain way and, when they read the
    whole sentence, there is a difference in what has been read and what was expected.

  • [1] Such a sentence leads the reader toward a seemingly familiar meaning that is actually not the one intended.

  • The ambiguity, however, is only perceived in writing, since the two occurrences of the word modern in the sentence have different pronunciations (for ‘going mouldy’ it is
    stressed on the first syllable, while for ‘contemporary’ on the second one).

  • With each new portion of the sentence encountered, they will try to make that part make sense with the sentence structures that they have already interpreted and their assumption
    about the rest of the sentence.

  • For this reason, garden-path sentences are often studied as a way to test which strategy humans use.

  • But adult L2 learners and native speaking children had similar error rates for garden-path sentences with no reference information, indicating systematic revision failure.

  • [4] Like the previous sentence, the initial parse is to read the complex houses as a noun phrase, but the complex houses married does not make semantic sense (only people
    can marry) and the complex houses married and single makes no sense at all (after married and…, the expectation is another verb to form a compound predicate).

  • Additionally, the use of discourse and referential information could be due to L1-transfer because Italian and English share the same sentence structure.

  • Frequently, when people can make even a little bit of sense of the later sentence, they stop analysing further so the former part of the sentence still remains in memory and
    does not get discarded from it.

  • It is also found that the reanalysis of a garden-path sentence gets more and more difficult with the length of the ambiguous phrase.

  • As readers are given more information, they make an assumption of the contents and meaning of the whole sentence.

  • A garden-path sentence is a grammatically correct sentence that starts in such a way that a reader’s most likely interpretation will be incorrect; the reader is lured into
    a parse that turns out to be a dead end or yields a clearly unintended meaning.

  • When read, the sentence seems ungrammatical, makes almost no sense, and often requires rereading so that its meaning may be fully understood after careful parsing.

  • As with other examples, one explanation for the initial misunderstanding by the reader is that a sequence of phrases tends to be analyzed in terms of the frequent pattern:
    agent – action – patient.

  • • The more common one includes the regression of eyes from the first disambiguation directly to the main verb of the sentence.

  • The reader initially interprets raced as the main verb in the simple past, but when the reader encounters fell, they are forced to re-analyze the sentence, concluding that
    raced is being used as a passive participle and horse is the direct object of the subordinate clause.

  • [16] Adult native English speakers, English speaking children, and adult English L2 learners were shown garden-path sentences or disambiguated garden-path sentences that either
    had reference information or no reference information and then asked to act out the sentence.

  • It also makes use of a misreading in which the word e is passed over by the parser, which lends to two different meanings.

  • The reader will continue to use the initial interpretation as reference for future parsing until disambiguating information is given.

  • When readers encounter another the following the supposed noun man (rather than the expected verb, as in e.g., The old man washed the boat),[a] they are forced to re-analyze
    the sentence.

  • According to them, the readers predominantly use two alternative strategies to recover from mild garden-path sentences.

  • [12] Parallel parsing is where the reader recognizes and generates multiple interpretations of the sentence and stores them until disambiguating information is given, at which
    point only the correct interpretation is maintained.

  • [16] See also[edit] Similar phenomena[edit] • Antanaclasis, a literary trope in which a single word or phrase is repeated, but in two different senses.

  • [15] Difficulties in revision[edit] Recent research on garden-path sentences has utilized adult second language learners, or L2 learners, to study difficulties in revision
    of the initial parsing of garden-path sentences.

  • Garden path sentences are not usually desirable in writing that intends to communicate clearly.

  • Parsing When reading a sentence, readers will analyze the words and phrases they see and make inferences about the sentence’s grammatical structure and meaning in a process
    called parsing.

  • In this sentence, the suspeita serves as an adjective for the mother who runs away due to the fact that e is easily overlooked.


Works Cited

[‘Experiments that measured readers’ reaction times after each word indicated that “the reaction time following the disambiguating word [the or washed following man] is significantly greater for the garden path than for the normal sentence.”[3]
Fowler, Henry Watson (1926). A Dictionary of Modern English Usage. Oxford University Press.
o ^ Guo, Jeff (18 May 2016). “Google’s new artificial intelligence can’t understand these sentences. Can you?”. Washington Post. Archived from the original
on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
o ^ Jump up to:a b Di Sciullo, Anna-Maria (2005). UG and External Systems: Language, Brain and Computation. Benjamins. pp. 225–226. ISBN 9789027227997.
o ^ Petrie, H.; Darzentas, J.; Walsh, T. (2016).
Universal Design 2016: Learning from the Past, Designing for the Future: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Universal Design (UD 2016), York, United Kingdom, August 21 – 24, 2016. IOS Press. p. 463. ISBN 9781614996842.
o ^ Dynel,
Marta (2009). Humorous Garden-Paths: A Pragmatic-Cognitive Study. Cambridge Scholars Publisher. pp. 18–19. ISBN 9781443812283.
o ^ Bever, Thomas G. (1 January 2001) [1970]. “The cognitive basis for linguistic structures (reprint)”. In Sanz, Montserrat;
Laka, Itziar; Tanenhaus, Michael K. (eds.). Language Down the Garden Path: The Cognitive and Biological Basis for Linguistic Structures. Oxford Studies in Biolinguistics. Oxford University Press. pp. 1–80. ISBN 9780199677139. Originally published
in R. Hayes (ed.) Cognition and Language Development (New York: Wiley & Sons, 1970, 279–362).
o ^ Bever, David J.; Bever, Thomas G. (2001). Sentence Comprehension: The Integration of Habits and Rules. Bradford Books. pp. 7–8. ISBN 9780262700801.
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“Wortspielereien: Postmoderne modern anders” [Word plays: Postmodern ones age differently]. Die Presse (in German). 29 March 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
o ^ Ribeiro, A. J. C. (4 February 2016). “A teoria do garden-path e evidêcias do Português
do Brasil”. Prolíngua (in Brazilian Portuguese). 10 (1): 93–105.
o ^ Reisberg, D. (2010). Cognition: Exploring the Science of the Mind (4th ed.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
o ^ Hickok, Gregory (1993). “Parallel parsing: Evidence from reactivation
in garden-path sentences”. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research Journal of Psycholinguistic Research. 22 (2): 239–250. doi:10.1007/BF01067832. ISSN 0090-6905. S2CID 142951681. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
o ^ Jump up to:a b Meng, Michael; Bader,
Markus (2000). “Ungrammaticality detection and garden path strength: Evidence for serial parsing”. Language and Cognitive Processes. 15 (6): 615–666. doi:10.1080/016909600750040580. S2CID 57051799.
o ^ Ferreria, F.; Henderson, J. (1991). “Recovery
from misanalyses of garden-path sentences”. Journal of Memory and Language. 30 (6): 725–745. doi:10.1016/0749-596x(91)90034-h.
o ^ Meseguer, E.; Carreiras, M.; Clifton, C. (2002). “Overt reanalysis strategies and eye movements during the reading
of mild garden path sentences”. Memory & Cognition. Psychonomic Society. 30 (4): 551–561. doi:10.3758/BF03194956. PMID 12184556.
o ^ Patson, N. D.; Darowski, E. S.; Moon, N.; Ferreria, F. (2009). “Lingering misinterpretations in garden-path sentences:
Evidence from a paraphrasing task”. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. 35 (1): 280–285. doi:10.1037/a0014276. PMID 19210099.
o ^ Jump up to:a b Pozzan, Lucia; Trueswell, John C. (7 December 2015). “Second language
processing and revision of garden-path sentences: A visual word study”. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. 19 (3): 636–643. doi:10.1017/s1366728915000838. ISSN 1366-7289. PMC 4870893. PMID 27212888.
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