An Analysis of Frequency- and Memory-Based Processing Costs
Marten van Schijndel and William Schuler
The frequency of words and syntactic constructions has been observed to have a
substantial effect on language processing. This begs the question of what
causes certain constructions to be more or less frequent. A theory of grounding
(Phillips, 2010) would suggest that cognitive limitations might cause languages
to develop frequent constructions in such a way as to avoid processing costs.
This paper studies how current theories of working memory fit into theories of
language processing and what influence memory limitations may have over reading
times. Measures of such limitations are evaluated on eye-tracking data and the
results are compared with predictions made by different theories of processing.
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