Fill the gap! Combining pragmatic and prosodic information to make gapping easy

Hoeks, J. C. J., Redeker, G. & Hendriks, P., Jun-2009, In : Journal of Psycholinguistic Research. 38, 3, p. 221-235 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Two studies investigated the effects of prosody and pragmatic context on off-line and on-line processing of sentences like John greeted Paul yesterday and Ben today. Such sentences are ambiguous between the so-called 'nongapping' reading, where John greeted Ben, and the highly unpreferred 'gapping' reading, where Ben greeted Paul. In the first experiment, participants listened to dialogues and gave a speeded response as to which reading of an ambiguous target sentence first comes to mind. In the second experiment, they also responded to a visual probe that was presented during the presentation of the ambiguous target. The results show that context and prosody have independent and strong effects on both on-line processing and off-line interpretation of gapping; in the right combination they can make gapping as easy as the normally preferred nongapping reading.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-235
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Psycholinguistic Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2009


  • Gapping, Pragmatic context, Prosody, Spoken language processing, COMPREHENSION, LANGUAGE

ID: 1917868