Predicting syntax: Processing dative constructions in American and Australian varieties of English
The present study uses probabilistic models of corpus data in a novel way, to measure and compare the syntactic predictive capacities of speakers of different varieties of the same language. The study finds that speakers' knowledge of probabilistic grammatical choices can vary across different varieties of the same language and can be detected psycholinguistically in the individual. In three pairs of experiments, Australians and Americans responded reliably to corpus model probabilities in rating the naturalness of alternative dative constructions, their lexical-decision latencies during reading varied inversely with the syntactic probabilities of the construction, and they showed subtle covariation in these tasks, which is in line with quantitative differences in the choices of datives produced in the same contexts.*
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Language in Time and Space (incl. Historical Linguistics, Dialectology)