The Garden Path Effect Essay

1743 Words Apr 15th, 2009 7 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
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Instead, we are taken in another direction, an unexpected one: “You can’t lean on your principles too much because you might bend them.” When you start reading the joke, you have no doubt the verb “appoggiarsi” is used with the meaning “to rely on”, until you read the last phrase “you might bend them”. That is the point when the other meaning of the word “appoggiarsi” gets activated (“to lean on”) and, at that time, the sentence makes sense, figuratively. Semantically, this is an incorrect statement since you cannot actually lean physically on your principles and bend them. In Romanian this word play is also entertaining. In the sentence “A cazut pe ganduri si si-a rupt mana.”, “a cazut pe ganduri” is an expression meaning “to have deep thoughts”. The word “cazut” by itself means “to fall”. In order to express the meaning of this particular expression, the verb “cazut” loses its original meaning and in this case it means “to have” (“cazut pe ganduri” = “having deep thoughts”). Translating mot-a-mot the sentence means: “He was having deep thoughts and he broke his arm”. The English speakers might find that the sentence does not make much sense because they are not familiar with the different meanings in the Romanian language. A Romanian would also be confused the first time he reads that statement since semantically the sentence does not make sense. After a quick lexical analysis where he replaces the meaning of the word “cazut” (“to have” with

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