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Relative clauses are not adjuncts: an experimental investigation of a corollary of the raising analyses 

Zurück zum Heft: Linguistische Berichte Heft 246
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Relative clauses and more generally clauses modifying nouns have been at the center of a long debate in the last forty years, opposing largely diverging syntactic analyses, comparing relevant data and discussing perspectives. The aim of this paper is to contribute to this debate by adding novel experimental data on how these structures are processed in an online reading task. Two eye-tracking experiments were designed to investigate the temporal structural ambiguity that can arise between object relative clauses (object RCs; 'the claim that linguists made is a mistake)' and so-called complement clauses of a noun (CCs; 'the claim that linguists made a mistake ...') in Italian and English. Although the pattern is complex, the results of both experiments suggest that a reanalysis effect is associated with CCs, showing an initial preference for the object RC structural interpretation. The implications of our results are discussed in relation to competing syntactic analyses for CCs ad RCs.