Chinese Relative Clauses Processing in Supportive Context Removing Ambiguity

Qiang LI, Jian ZHANG, Wei YUE


There is a controversy about the difficulty in processing subject- and object-extraction relative clause. The current experiment examined the reading time of each relative clause in subject- and object-modifying conditions with a supportive context to remove the possible ambiguity. The results showed that at Head Noun position subject-extracted relative clauses were processed faster, yet no significant difference was found at other positions. Memory-based theories such as Dependency Locality Theory can not fully explain it, while high frequency of subject-extracted relative clause provides a better explanation.Key Words: sentence comprehension; relative clause; Chinese; context

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