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Left-edge boundary tone and main clause verb effects on syntactic processing in embedded clauses - An ERP study

Publiceringsår: 2009
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 55-73
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Journal of Neurolinguistics
Volym: 22
Nummer: 1
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Elsevier


We examined the effects of main clause verb pragmatics and left-edge boundary tones on syntactic processing in Swedish embedded clauses, using listener judgments and Event-Related Potentials. When the syntactic structure did not match the expectation based on the occurrence of a left-edge boundary tone, the acceptance rate decreased significantly, and a biphasic positive effect with an early peak (P345) and a late peak (P600) showed increased processing load. A larger continuous positive effect (P600) was obtained by changing an assertive main clause verb to a nonassertive verb, thereby modifying the lexical pragmatic context of the embedded clause. Increased positivity was also seen at the left-edge boundary tone when it mismatched a preceding nonassertive verb. We conclude that left-edge boundary tones are used in addition to verb pragmatics to guide the syntactic processing of embedded clauses in Swedish, and that pragmatic and prosodic information is integrated immediately.


  • General Language Studies and Linguistics
  • Psychology
  • ERP
  • Prosody
  • Syntax
  • Pragmatics
  • Boundary tone
  • Intonation
  • P600


  • Grammar, Prosody, Discourse and the Brain. ERP-studies in speech processing
  • Cognition, Communication and Learning
  • ISSN: 0911-6044

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