[PS-2.41] Indexing Movement: An eye-tracking experiment on processing Japanese scrambled sentences

Tamaoka, K. & Mansbridge, M.

Nagoya University, Japan

Using two eye-tracking experiments, we investigated the phrasal processing of syntactic movement for short- and long-distance scrambling within Japanese sentences. Experiment 1 compared canonical SOV sentences against OSV scrambled counterparts. Since both re-reading time and regression-in at the crucial S region adjacent to the gap in an OSV-ordered sentence was significantly longer and more frequent than the same position within the SOV counterpart (only case marking differed), the use of verb argument information for gap-filling parsing is supported for Japanese scrambling. Experiment 2 compared three types of complex sentences: S[SOV]V canonical, S[OSgapV]V short-distance scrambling, and [O]S[SgapV]V long-distance scrambling. Results revealed that re-reading time at the crucial S of OSV-ordered short-distance scrambling showed significantly longer re-reading time and more frequent regression-in than in canonical sentences. Similarly, long-distance scrambling displayed the same trend for re-reading time at the crucial S and regression-in from the verb. This post-head processing pattern was also observed at the O in long-distance scrambling. We suggest that scrambling is processed chiefly around the crucial NP closest to the gap in relation to the filler NP. We further propose that key indexes such as re-reading time and regression-in are crucial for detecting the processing of syntactic movement operations.