Speech Prosody 2008

Campinas, Brazil
May 6-9, 2008

Default Phrasing in English Relative Clause Attachment Data

Sun-Ah Jun, Molly Shilman

Department of Linguistics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

This study investigates the validity of the Implicit Prosody Hypothesis (IPH) by examining the default phrasing of English sentences where a complex noun phrase is the head of a relative clause (RC) (e.g., the servant of the actress who was on the balcony). The prosodic phrasing data collected from 36 speakers were transcribed by three labelers. Results show that, counter to the prediction of the IPH, the most common prosodic phrasing was (NP1 NP2) // (RC), the same pattern found in Japanese and Korean, which are known to be high attachment preference languages. The results also showed that the default phrasing was influenced by the length of the RC but not the bias of the RC. The results are discussed in relation to factors affecting default phrasing.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Jun, Sun-Ah / Shilman, Molly (2008): "Default phrasing in English relative clause attachment data", In SP-2008, 469-472.