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Share Paper 2685

Using Syntactic Satiation to Investigate Subject Islands
Jean Crawford
38-45 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Syntactic satiation is the study of the increase in acceptability of "ungrammatical" sentences over repeated exposure, which can be induced experimentally (Snyder 2000). Although the effect of changing judgments has been replicated in several studies (Hiramatsu 2000, Goodall 2005, Francom 2009), some argue that the effect is not the result of an individual's change in acceptability, but the result of an unbalanced experiment design (Sprouse 2009). To the extent that satiation has been replicated, the results for subject island violations have been most variable. While some experimental studies have found that participants satiate on subject islands (Hiramatsu 2000, Francom 2009), others have only found marginal to no effects (Snyder 2000, Sprouse 2009). One possible explanation for the variable results with subject islands is that the subject island items used in previous studies have not been carefully controlled for predicate type, an element which has been argued to affect overall acceptability and perhaps satiation (Merchant 2001, Erteschik-Shir 2007, Kravtchenko et al. 2009). In this paper, I evaluate the replication of satiation effects for whether, adjunct, and 3 types of subject islands. This study uses a new method of controlling for individual variability in scale rating tasks by standardizing responses to critical items by mean response to filler items. Replicating all studies except Sprouse (2009), I find satiation effects in a balanced design for whether islands. However, unlike Hiramatsu (2000) and Francom (2009), I do not find satiation effects for any of the subject island types tested. The results are discussed in relation to possible sources of the satiation effect.

Published in

Proceedings of the 29th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Jaehoon Choi, E. Alan Hogue, Jeffrey Punske, Deniz Tat, Jessamyn Schertz, and Alex Trueman
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00