The Garden Path Effect

1741 WordsApr 30, 20097 Pages
Monica Beasley The garden path effect Class: Cognitive psychology Professor: Linda A Gullatte One of the most important personalities in the cognitive psychology who studied the garden path effect is Lyn Frazier who is a Linguistics professor at the University of Massachusetts. His garden path model of syntactic parsing influenced many linguists in their studies about the lexical and syntactical ambiguity in our language. In his book “The sausage machine”, Frasier claims that the longer a sentence, the more grammatical rules needed to be applied. With each word added to a simple phrase, the structure of the sentence becomes more complicated and more time is spent in trying to understand the meaning of it. The smaller the…show more content…
As I mentioned above, the word “cazut” by itself means “to fall” so the joke is supposed to read: “He fell into his thoughts and he broke his arm”. To Romanians this sentence is hilarious but others find it strange and ambiguous even after being explained. English language is not left out of these word games either. In the sentence “He was driving to the airport when he saw a sign that read: "Airport Left,"; then he turned around and went home.”, the word “left” is also a homonym that misleads us in the wrong path. The rest of the sentence is giving us the right understanding of the whole sentence. When we read the first part, “He was driving to the airport when he saw a sign that read, “Airport Left” the phrase leads us to believe that “left” is used as an adverb with the sense of “direction” and not as a verb (“to leave”). The second part, “then he turned around and he went home.” directs us towards the real meaning of the word “left” used in the context which is “to leave”. Playing with the meaning of the words can be fun but unless your game partner is fluent in the same language you play in, this game will not be entertaining for the other person. In Romania people say if you don’t understand a certain language jokes, then you are not proficient in that language. Speaking from experience, I find that statement to be true. The syntactic ambiguity we find in playing with homonyms is easily
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