This study explored the relationship between syntax and semantics in an effort to provide evidence against a strict theory of the Autonomy of Syntax. The evidence was provided by an acceptability survey given to 20 native, adult Mexicans who ranked both declarative and wh-questions which manifested a filler-gap relationship where the gap was located in an embedded noun clause. The main verbs were controlled for semantic depth by being ranked within verbal categories according to external evidence of markedness or semantic depth. The primary hypothesis was that semantically deeper verbs would add to the already increased strain on working memory associated with filler-gap processing, thereby resulting in decreased acceptability. The results of the survey showed that, while this hypothesis held true to some degree, further research will be required to confirm the results and to further understand the intricate interactions between syntax and semantics.
College and Department
Humanities; Spanish and Portuguese
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Jessen, Ashlee Marie, "The Effect of the Semantic Depth of Spanish Verbs on Processing Demands of Filler-Gap Relationships in Noun Clauses" (2012). Theses and Dissertations. 3502.
Autonomy of syntax, semantic depth, markedness, wh-movement, filler-gap, processing, working memory