Thursday 2 June – Jakub Dotlačil

Speaker:  Jakub Dotlačil (University of Groningen)
Title: Intermediate traces in mind
Date: Thursday 2 June
Time: 15.15-16.30
Venue: Eyckhof 2-003

Abstract: Since Chomsky (1973), it has been argued extensively in syntactic research that movement spanning two or more clauses proceeds in successive cycles. Furthermore, it has been noted that intermediate traces created by successive-cyclic movement should be detectable by psycholinguistic methods, for example, in eye tracking/self-paced reading (Frazier and Clifton, 1989, Gibson et al., 2004, Keine, 2015). Consider (i).

(i) Who did the consultant claim [t_who that the proposal had pleased t_who]?

Gibson et al. (2004) and Keine (2015) show that the reconstruction of the object position t_who of “pleased” is faster in (i) than in case there is no intermediate trace present. I will discuss their findings in light of a model of memory retrieval, which might predict such a state of affairs given some well-established properties of memory (temporal decline, increase of activation after a successful recall). The main questions to be addressed will be: (i) can computational models of memory be tied to syntactic models to make fine-grained predictions in psycholinguistics (cf. Lewis et al., 2005)? (ii) can such models be used to make specific linguistic arguments (in this case, the existence of intermediate traces and their localization – at CPs, vPs etc.)?

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