Syntactic Parsing Strategies in Italian: The Minimal Chain by Marica de Vincenzi (auth.)

By Marica de Vincenzi (auth.)

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Calabrese 'presentative sentences', 1984 and references therein to Gueron, 1980). The disambiguation was achieved through an evaluation of the plausibility relations between the action predicated in the main clause and the action predicated in the subordinate clause. In (2) for example, the rationale clause in condition 1 pragmatically forces a reading in which 'the seller' is the object of 'called' and the matrix sentence has a null-subject in pre-verbal position (pro). In fact if asking for a discount was the reason to call, then sellers are more likely to be the ones who receive such a call than to be the agent of it.

Has run a friend. (a friend ran) If the parser follows the MCP, and is sensitive to chain length, it will find (33b) more difficult to process than (33a). In (33a) the rnst-verbal subject is base generated in position, while in (33b) the subject was moved from, and forms a chain with, the 'pro' in preverbal position. The presence of a longer chain in (33b) is predicted to be costly for the parser. Experiment 3 will test the MCP in wh-questions. Wh-questions are filler/gap constructions where the wh-item is unambiguously a filler.

The idea that will be followed in the present work is thus to test some universal processing strategies and see if and how they apply to Italian. By 'universal processing strategies' I mean processing strategies that are not, at least in principle, language specific, but rather are motivated by psychological factors, such as memory limitations or the time pressure on the language processor. Therefore such principles should be applicable to all human languages. Of course the final word regarding their universality will be reached when they will be proved to be common to the parsers of all the human languages.

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