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Social Sci LibreTexts

8.12: Psycholinguistics: Traces in the Mind

  • Page ID
    9677
  • We’ve claimed that when the operation MOVE moves a head or a phrase into a new Surface Structure position, it leaves a silent copy of itself (a trace) behind in the Deep Structure position. This unit presents psycholinguistic evidence that these traces do form part of our mental representation of sentences.
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    A YouTube element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here: https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/essentialsoflinguistics/?p=188

    Check Yourself

    1. Which of the following illustrates the position of the trace in the wh-question What did Christina order at Chipotle?

    • What did Christina order at Chipotle what.
    • What did Christina order what at Chipotle.

    2. Which of the following ungrammatical sentences gives evidence that unpronounced traces exist in our mental representations of sentences?

    • *Did you ate what for lunch?
    • *What did you eat sandwiches for lunch?

    3. Predict which sentence would lead to more eye movements to a picture of a rabbit after the verb chase:

    • What did the fox chase ^ into the hedge?
    • Did the fox chase ^ the rabbit into the hedge?