Within the cognitive sciences, most researchers assume that it is the job of linguists to investigate how language is represented, and that they do so largely by building theories based on explicit judgments about patterns of acceptability – whereas it is the task of psychologists to determine how language is processed, and that in doing so, they do not typically question the linguists' representational assumptions. We challenge this division of labor by arguing that structural priming provides an implicit method of (...) investigating linguistic representations that should end the current reliance on acceptability judgments. Moreover, structural priming has now reached sufficient methodological maturity to provide substantial evidence about such representations. We argue that evidence from speakers' tendency to repeat their own and others' structural choices supports a linguistic architecture involving a single shallow level of syntax connected to a semantic level containing information about quantification, thematic relations, and information structure, as well as to a phonological level. Many of the linguistic distinctions often used to support complex syntactic structure are instead captured by semantics; however, the syntactic level includes some specification of “missing” elements that are not realized at the phonological level. We also show that structural priming provides evidence about the consistency of representations across languages and about language development. In sum, we propose that structural priming provides a new basis for understanding the nature of language. (shrink)
The authors' claim that analogical reasoning is the product of relational priming is compatible with language processing work that emphasizes the role of low-level automatic processes in the alignment of situation models in dialogue. However, their model ignores recent behavioral evidence demonstrating a effect on relational priming. We discuss implications of these data.
I argue that alignment of linguistic representations and situation models in dialogue are qualitatively distinct. By virtue of the isomorphy between interlocutors' linguistic representations, interlocutors align their linguistic representations fully. However, evidence about situation models is indirect and mediated through language, with the result that alignment of situation models is only partial.
Levelt, Roelofs, & Meyer (henceforth Levelt et al. 1999) propose a model of production incorporating a lemma stratum, which is concerned with the syntactic characteristics of lexical entries. We suggest that syntactic priming experiments provide evidence about how such syntactic information is represented, and that this evidence can be used to extend Levelt et al.'s model. Evidence from syntactic priming experiments also supports Levelt et al.'s conjecture that the lemma stratum is shared between the production and comprehension systems.
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