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Not only the apples: Focus sensitive particles improve memory for information-structural alternatives

  • Focus sensitive particles highlight the relevance of contextual alternatives for the interpretation of a sentence. Two experiments tested whether this leads to better encoding and therefore, ultimately, better recall of focus alternatives. Participants were presented with auditory stimuli that introduced a set of elements ("context sentence") and continued in three different versions: the critical sentences either contained the exclusive particle nur ("only"), the inclusive particle sogar ("even"), or no particle (control condition). After being exposed to blocks of ten trials, participants were asked to recall the elements in the context sentence. The results show that both particles enhanced memory performance for the alternatives to the focused element, relative to the control condition. The results support the assumption that information-structural alternatives are better encoded in memory in the presence of a focus sensitive particle.

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Author:Katharina SpalekORCiDGND, Nicole Gotzner, Isabell WartenburgerORCiDGND
ISSN:0749-596X (print)
ISSN:1096-0821 (online)
Parent Title (English):Journal of memory and language
Place of publication:San Diego
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2014
Year of Completion:2014
Release Date:2017/03/27
Tag:Alternative set; Delayed recall; Focus particles; Information structure; Memory
First Page:68
Last Page:84
Funder:Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG); Stifterverband fur die Deutsche Wissenschaft (Claussen-Simon-Stiftung)
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Linguistik / Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
Peer Review:Referiert