This project investigates the development and adaptation of filler-gap dependency processing mechanisms in children and adults. The main hypothesis of this project is that children's comprehension mechanisms may adapt to an adult-like mechanism based on a) a long-term accumulation of filler-gap dependencies that complete at the verb position, as well as b) syntactic priming of such filler-gap dependencies within an experimental session. Conversely, adults' comprehension mechanisms should also adapt to the child-like, conservative mechanism after exposure to filler-gap dependencies that are completed at a post-verbal position. To test these predictions, Dr. Omaki will conduct a corpus study and eye-tracking experiments that explore the relation between language experience and real-time comprehension of filler-gap dependencies.
Award Abstract: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1423117