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Resumptive elements aid comprehension of object relative clauses: evidence from Persian*

  • RAMIN RAHMANY (a1), HAMIDEH MAREFAT (a1) and EVAN KIDD (a2)

Abstract

The current study investigated the role of resumption in the interpretation of object relative clauses (RCs) in Persian-speaking children. Sixty-four (N=64) children aged 3;2–6;0 (M=4;8) completed a referent selection task that tested their comprehension of subject RCs, gapped object RCs, and object RCs containing either a resumptive pronoun or an object clitic. The results showed that the presence of a resumptive element (pronoun or clitic) had a facilitative effect on children's processing of object RCs. In both cases object RCs with resumptive elements were interpreted more accurately than gapped subject and object RCs, suggesting that resumptive elements ease processing burden in syntactically complex contexts because they provide local cues to thematic role assignment.

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Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr Ramin Rahmany, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Tehran, Kargar Shomali Street, Tehran, IRAN. e-mail: ramin_rahmany@yahoo.com
Dr Evan Kidd, Research School of Psychology (Building 39), The Australian National University, Canberra 0200, AUSTRALIA. tel: +61 2 6125 2147; fax: +61 2 61250499; e-mail: evan.kidd@anu.edu.au

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[*]

This research was generously supported by a grant from the University of Tehran (grant # 4601011/1/5). We thank Inbal Arnon, Ludovica Serratrice, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on a previous version of this paper.

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References

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Resumptive elements aid comprehension of object relative clauses: evidence from Persian*

  • RAMIN RAHMANY (a1), HAMIDEH MAREFAT (a1) and EVAN KIDD (a2)

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