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Sentence Processing: Effects of Semantic Structure on Sentence Perception Proposal

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Updated: Sep 27th, 2019


Understanding the practical structures of sentence interpretation has been an area of intense research for over a century, and interest in the basis of language and sentence processing is as old as the initially documented clinical records. In spite of this consideration, the neural design of sentence interpretation has been amazingly complex to categorize, even in gross structural conditions. The fundamental theory, formulated in the 1900s, was direct and perceptive.

Sentence interpretation is backed up by the auditory part of the brain. Proof for this assertion originated from people with auditory sentence interpretation problem who usually had disorders in their right superior temporal gyrus, abbreviated as STG. Consequently, the right STG specifically was considered to have been supporting sentence comprehension.

The hypothesis was challenged through another discovery in the 1970s. The discovery was that shortfalls in the capability of perceiving sentences added modestly to the auditory perception shortfall. This finding does not discard the importance of the right STG during sentence conception but is an indication that other areas contribute in the process (Warren and Johnson 640).

In the 1980s neuropsychological experimental studies indicated that damage to either major or minor parietal regions in the right side of the brain brought about shortfalls in roles that involved the separation or perception of sentence structures (Scott 198). These results illustrated the potential function of the superior parietal path in the discernment of sentence.

Conversely, the significance of such results to map the neural paths for sentence interpretation was subject to debate, given that the capability of performing syllable identification and separation roles particularly disconnected from the capability of comprehending orally uttered sentence. For example, there is a patient who has defective syllable separation but excellent phrase perception, and vice versa (Scott and Johnsrude 102).

Some researchers interpreted this to imply that sentence perception shortfalls in Wernicke’s model that are not associated with right temporal impairments came from disorders of semantic instead of phonological aspects, while other authors hypothesized that the recording between semantic illustrations and phonological demonstrations was disordered.

Suggested justifications for shortfalls in sentence interpretation linked to permanent disorders comprised simplified deliberate shortfalls and phonological functioning memory shortfalls (Stefanatos and Madigan 457).

The current study proposal focuses on collecting experimental data regarding the semantic and phonological links and behaviour-focused methods of sentence processing. In particular, three elements will be studied. Firstly, the time path and signal trend of the recognition and ultimate interpretation of various sentence designs.

Secondly, the potential dissociation between two sentences structures, one syntactically focused and another structure that addresses semantic concerns. In this respect, I anticipate variations in the time path and signal design of the sentences, but not essentially variations in the behaviour-based aspects.

Thirdly, the time path associated with structural uncertainty decision, in particular a sentence comprising of “quale nouns” and a sentence comprising of relative clauses. Predictions will be generated utilizing modern theoretical models of processing a sentence, particularly experimental parser, for example, active fillers and parallel frameworks, for example, interactive inauguration, and the outcomes will be utilized in comparing, and adjudicating among them.

Study Objectives

The objectives of the current study proposal are chiefly three. Firstly, to collect experimental data utilizing a mixed formula which pulls together phonological aspects and behavioural measures based on the hypothesis that the similarity between the two strategies allows some implications concerning the potential parallelism between the insentient and sentient degrees, while the nonexistence of parallelism emphasizes insentient dispensations, which are not mirrored at the sentient degree (Stefanatos and Madigan 458).

These aspects are specifically necessary for the restrictions they impose on the expected design of the sentence processing frameworks. Secondly, to utilize the experimental data to analyze and ultimately integrate psycho-linguistic frameworks of sentence processing particularly with respect to the different kind of the semantic and syntactic processing.

These aspects are explicitly necessary for selecting between frameworks which predict the parallelism model of processing various designs well-suited to the inputs and frameworks which predict in its place the previous constructing of a favoured design and ultimately their rectification in case they become not well-suited to the input.

The third objective is method-based and regards developing measuring techniques associated with the combined consideration of phonological metrics and behavioural indicators. These aspects are in particular necessary since various metrics can be sensitive or insensitive to various elements of the syntactical and semantic designs and their combined reflection contributions, therefore, a comprehensive measure of sentence processing frameworks.


The capability of recognising a suitable sentence has been utilized as an instrument for investigating the practical aspect of the individual sentence mechanism, because the recognition of a violation brings about changes in the ordinary interpretation procedure, as guided by the interruption of listening durations immediately the violations are detected or through the absence of precision during sentence interpretation.

From the psycholinguistics perspective, the motivating queries regard, among many elements, the timing of violations recognition and the time taken to repair the violation. Indeed, the chronological relation between recognition and correction can offer data regarding the design of the individual sentence processor (Scott 197).

Additionally, the time path of the processor’s sensitivity to various forms of infringements, or to infringements of various aspects, can be a source of critical information regarding the design of language. For demonstrating purposes, differential responses to the semantic infringements, for example, differential delays during interpretative dedication are manifestations of an ethical difference between semantic and syntactic response mechanisms within the mankind language response process (Scott and Johnsrude 102).

Various methodological possible challenges for such a perception based on some of behavioural information have been selected. Stevens related lexical decisions function, where a violation was not the aim of the function and “stop-making-logic” tasks, in which violation detection is in its place the aim of the tasks, and achieved delays only in the decision function (Stevens 1888).

Therefore, the features of the tasks themselves can bring about variations in the outcomes, even with an identical experimental tool, and thus, when investigating sentence processing, deviating metrics may be more sufficient.

Warren and Johnson (638) recorded movement of eyes utilizing similar framework described above. The research indicates an individual trend for the time-path of the infringements: semantic faults produce instant more regressions compared to controls on the verb and on the subsequent sentence, recurring at baseline on the remaining portion of the sentence. On the other hand, semantic infringements portray a rise in the frequency of regressions that remains until sentence stop.

Such trend of outcomes show that the parsing response practice for semantic and syntax is different, in that semantic data are domestically incorporated and decided, whereas syntactic infringement remains until the stop of the sentence. Concerning the first recognition of the violations, whereas semantic infringement regression initiates directly on the verb, for syntactic infringement, the regression (and decision duration) increases only on the phrase after the decisive word.

Theoretical framework

A listener obtains meaning from an organized flow of words, not a disorganized set of expressions and words. I additionally presume that the capability of imposing construction on a flow of phrases is at the core of the individual capability of understanding speech and that its absence varies with certain aphasias.

In the 1990s, the psychological studies of parsing theory were controlled by the “garden-course framework,” suggested by Stefanatos and Madigan (460) as a modification of Scott’s (197) proposal. This framework differed with the “perceptive-strategy” frameworks that lived earlier (Stevens 1879), which were slightly over collections of styles or prompts that were considered necessary to parsing.

The framework had strong and examinable assertions regarding the procedure of parsing and had obvious guesses concerning what sentence constructions would be less hard and complex. The garden-course framework was disputed in various behaviours (Spitsyna and Scott 7329) but debatably continued the popular parsing framework until recently.

Presently, however, this framework is turning out to be far more charming and thrilling. Interesting options to garden-course model have been suggested. Certain people retain the fundamental concept of garden-course model (because of its significance on the utilization of linguistic in an emblematic parsing framework), but focus on various elements of the language, or include some parallelism in the parsing illustrations (Scott 198).

These concerns have driven me to re-assessing experimentally a few of these basic presumptions of the garden-course concept. To do this, I will utilize connectionist framework, an improvement garden-course model, to investigate simply which elements of sentences’ prosody a listener uses to identify their construction and implication.


Some of the proposed experimental studies assess how indistinct term can be associated with varying levels in the terms that lead it. For example, in a sentence such as John noted that James called after Peter arrived, the appendage term after Peter arrived could change either note or call. Such phrases need to be much probable in attaching high, changing the key clause note, if they came after intonational territories that are indicated by pitch pattern and temporal fluctuations.

I will utilize this experiment in investigating whether varying kinds of intonational territories have different influences and in evaluating the assertion that only “instructive” boundaries will influence sentence interpretation. It evaluates a description of “instructive” that asserts boundaries are instructive if they are phonologically bigger compared to some structurally-described previous territories.

The experiment will offer various varying assessments, utilizing various varying grammatical clauses, of whether a prosodic boundary that is instructive based on this description encourages high linkage of indefinite phrase (Scott and Johnsrude 104).

Further experiments deal with the premise that a listener takes remarkable prosody in indicating remarkable interpretations of sentences. Strategies of this nature have been proposed several times, and a number of experimental proofs appear to be in line with it.

But the framework may be only an unfinished estimation to realism. The suggested experiment, which studies the interpretations of nouns, impulsive, and measured NP, focuses on determining whether the event defined by the remarkable hypothesis really reflects simpler, basic prosodic practices of purpose and intonation.


While there is slight common ground regarding the comparative timing in the recognition of pragmatic and semantic violations, there is vivid indication for dissociation during timing that the two infringements draw in the sentence. Event-Related Potential (ERP) suggested during sentence interpretation is an ongoing online metric of the mental electric operation happening during sentence interpretation.

ERP measure is multidirectional: it varies in morphology, polarization, time taken, and scalp circulation. Thus, relative to other behaviour based measures, for example, listening duration, it can offer proof whether some procedures differ on one or more measures, for example, time taken and polarity.

Regarding the concern of the difference between pragmatic and semantic circuits, ERP information has indicated different feedbacks for the two language circuits. Pragmatically appropriate phrases indicate harmful components, basically assigned in the entire scalp but more severe around the posterior regions, attaining maximum value at roughly 400 milliseconds following a stimulus, referred to as the N400 effects.

These effects are excellently addressed and have been noted using various languages and in various forms. Things are uneven when turning to the ERP correlates of semantic processing, in addition, since different semantic designs and matching infringements have been examined. In summary, I can say that in regard to semantic processing two ERP parts have been determined: immediate right anterior negativities and a delayed mid-parietal positivity.

A semantic anomaly elicits a negative polarization effect between approximately 200 to 500 milliseconds after stimulus activation: this negative effect is typically most significant over right anterior regions and is thus known as Right Anterior Negativity, abbreviated as RAN.

Immediate RANs about 250 milliseconds have been noted during sentence interpretation anomalies (Hickok and Poeppel towards a Functional 134). RANs ranging from 300 to 500 milliseconds have been illustrated with respect to correlation with subject-verb interpretation anomalies and noun’s sun-classification data (Hickok and Poeppel The Cortical Organization 396)

Works Cited

Hickok, Gregory and David Poeppel. “Towards a Functional Neuroanatomy of Speech Perception.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 4.4 (2000): 131-136. Print.

Hickok, Gregory and David Poeppel. “The Cortical Organization of Speech Processing.” Neuroscience 8.1 (2007): 393-400. Print.

Scott, Sophie and Ingrid Johnsrude. “The Neuroanatomical and Functional Organization of Speech Perception.” Trends in Neurosciences 26.2 (2003): 100-105. Print.

Scott, Sophie. “Auditory Processing: Speech, Space and auditory objects.” Journal of Neurobiology 15.2 (2005): 197-201. Print.

Spitsyna, Warren and Sophie Scott. “Converging Language Streams in the Human Temporal Lobe.” Journal of Neurosciences 26.3 (2006): 7328–7336. Print.

Stefanatos, Gregory and Johnson Madigan. “On Pure Word: Deafness, Temporal Processing, and the Left Hemisphere.” Journal of International Neuropsychology 11.1 (2005): 456-470. Print.

Stevens, Newton. “Toward a Model for Lexical Access based on Acoustic Landmarks and Distinctive Features.” Trends in Neurosciences 111.2 (2002): 1872-1891. Print.

Warren, Wise and Warren Johnson. “Sounds Doable: Auditory–motor Transformations and the Posterior Temporal Plane. Trends in Neurosciences 28.2 (2005): 636–643. Print.

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"Sentence Processing: Effects of Semantic Structure on Sentence Perception." IvyPanda, 27 Sept. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/sentence-processing-effects-of-semantic-structure-on-sentence-perception-proposal/.

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IvyPanda. "Sentence Processing: Effects of Semantic Structure on Sentence Perception." September 27, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/sentence-processing-effects-of-semantic-structure-on-sentence-perception-proposal/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Sentence Processing: Effects of Semantic Structure on Sentence Perception." September 27, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/sentence-processing-effects-of-semantic-structure-on-sentence-perception-proposal/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Sentence Processing: Effects of Semantic Structure on Sentence Perception'. 27 September.

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