Variations on incremental interpretation

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Variations on incremental interpretation

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Title: Variations on incremental interpretation
Author: Johnson, Mark; Shieber, Stuart ORCID  0000-0002-7733-8195

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Stuart M. Shieber and Mark Johnson. Variations on incremental interpretation. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 22(2):287-318, March 1993. The original publication is available at
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Abstract: The strict competence hypothesis has sparked a small dialogue among several researchers attempting to understand its ramifications for human sentence processing and incremental interpretation in particular. In this paper, we review the dialogue, reconstructing the arguments in an attempt to make them more uniform and crisp, and provide our own analyses of certain of the issues that arise. We argue that strict competence, because it requires a synchronous computation mechanism, may actually lead to more complex, rather than simpler, models of incremental interpretation. Asynchronous computation, which is arguably both psychologically more plausible and conceptually more basic, allows for incremental interpretation to fall out naturally, without additional machinery for interpreting partial constituents. We show that this is true regardless of whether the presumed interpretation mechanism is top-down or bottom-up, contra previous conclusions in the literature, and propose a particular implementation of some of these ideas using a novel representation based on tree-adjoining grammars.
The research in this paper was supported in part by grant IRI-9157996 from the National Science Foundation to the first author. The authors would like to thank Fernando Pereira, Edward Stabler, and Mark Steedman for discussions on the topic of this paper and for their comments on previous drafts.
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