The pronoun which comprehenders who process it in islands derive a benefit
Christopher Hammerly
October 2019

There is an ongoing debate about the role that resumptive pronouns play in the processing of islands in intrusive resumption languages such as English. A common view maintains that resumption benefits producers, but not comprehenders. In contrast to this view, and in line with other recent work, this paper provides evidence that resumptive pronouns facilitate the comprehension of island-violating structures in online processing. The results are argued to fall in line with filler-gap processing more generally: when fillers are difficult or impossible to keep active, resumption provides support for forming a dependency that fills an otherwise empty argument position. This occurs when dependencies span multiple clauses, when memory resources are otherwise taxed, or, as the present paper shows, when grammatical constraints such as islands prohibit the use of the active filler strategy.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004846
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Under Review
keywords: resumption, filler-gap, resumptive pronouns, islands, sentence processing, sentence comprehension, active filler strategy, syntax
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