Functional Clauses and Sentence Segmentation In two experiments subjects listened to a sentence containing a brief tone, then wrote out the sentence and marked the location of the tone. The experimental sentences were biclausal with the tone placed before or after the clause break. The initial clause was either functionally complete or functionally incomplete. Functionally ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1978
Functional Clauses and Sentence Segmentation
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • John M. Carroll
    IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York
  • Michael K. Tanenhaus
    Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1978
Functional Clauses and Sentence Segmentation
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1978, Vol. 21, 793-808. doi:10.1044/jshr.2104.793
History: Received December 23, 1977 , Accepted March 14, 1978
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1978, Vol. 21, 793-808. doi:10.1044/jshr.2104.793
History: Received December 23, 1977; Accepted March 14, 1978

In two experiments subjects listened to a sentence containing a brief tone, then wrote out the sentence and marked the location of the tone. The experimental sentences were biclausal with the tone placed before or after the clause break. The initial clause was either functionally complete or functionally incomplete. Functionally complete clauses contain a complete set of fully specified grammatical relations, while functionally incomplete clauses do not. In Experiment 1 tones were mislocated toward the clause break and the final word of the first clause significantly more often for functionally complete clauses. Experiment 2 replicated this finding holding deep-and surface-structure variables constant. The resulis indicate that functionally complete clauses are better segmentation units during sentence perception than functionally incomplete clauses. Purely structural theories of the units of sentence perception cannot account for this finding.

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