A novel argument for the universality of parsing principles

Nino Grillo, João Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous work on Relative Clause attachment has overlooked a crucial grammatical distinction across both the languages and structures tested: the selective availability of Pseudo Relatives. We reconsider the literature in light of this observation and argue that, all else being equal, local attachment is found with genuine Relative Clauses and that non-local attachment emerges when their surface identical imposters, Pseudo Relatives, are available. Hence, apparent cross-linguistic variation in parsing preferences is reducible to grammatical factors. The results from two novel experiments in Italian are presented in support of these conclusions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-187
Number of pages31
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jul 2014
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jul 2014


  • Sentence Processing
  • Locality
  • Attachment Preferences
  • Universality of Parsing Principles
  • Relative Clauses
  • Pseudo Relatives

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