Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2542-3835
  • E-ISSN: 2542-3843
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This study investigates the locus of processing difficulty in English object-extracted relative clauses during both native and non-native sentence comprehension. Two L-maze experiments were conducted – one with English native speakers ( = 48) and another with highly proficient Chinese learners of English ( = 20) – to compare the processing of object-extracted relative clauses (ORCs) with that of subject-extracted relative clauses (SRCs). Both participants groups revealed clear processing costs for ORC sentences. In both cases, this processing difficulty was localized at the beginning of the ORC, and specifically at the article that introduced the ORC subject (.). These findings are taken to indicate that structural expectations play a central role in the first- and second-language processing of English relative clauses and of complex sentences more generally.


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