Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0257-3784
  • E-ISSN: 2212-9731
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This article explores the effect of discourse context and prosody on the resolution of wh-scope ambiguity in Tokyo Japanese, Fukuoka Japanese, and South Kyŏngsang Korean. It focuses on wh-islands in particular. There is little consensus in the literature as to whether wh-island effects are present in Japanese or Korean (Huang 1982, Nishigauchi 1990, Lee 1982, Suh 1987, among others). A production study, in which a scope-ambiguous wh-interrogative was preceded by a disambiguating discourse context, demonstrates that speakers’ scope interpretation is consistent with the preceding discourse context. An additional comprehension study reveals that prosodic wh-scope marking observed in the languages studied improves the acceptability of the matrix scope readings in violation of wh-islands. The experimental results support the view that wh-island effects can be overridden by plausible discourse contexts as well as the appropriate prosodic marking of wh-scope. These results highlight the interaction of grammatical knowledge, contextual factors, and prosody.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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