Chiara Gambi, Nicoletta Caramelli

Priming in the study of syntax

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: language, production, comprehension, syntax, priming effect.

Syntactic or structural priming is the facilitation in processing a linguistic construct due to prior processing of constructs with the same structure. In the present review, we portray the literature on structural priming studied on adult monolingual normal speakers, starting from the seminal work by Bock (1986). We compare production, comprehension and cross-modal experiments describing their experimental paradigms. The importance of including a baseline control condition for clarifying the effect is also stressed. We highlight three factors responsible for the often inconsistent results obtained in these experiments: processing modality (comprehension vs. production), repetition of open-class lexical items, and the argument-adjunct distinction. In addition, the repetition of closed-class lexical items and that of thematic structure information are identified as possible alternative explanations for the priming effect. Finally, we report evidence regarding the temporal course of the effect and outline the theories advanced on this evidence.

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