Island constraints are not the result of sentence processing

Helen Goodluck, Frank Tsiwah, Kofi Saah


On the basis of a comparison between sentence judgements in English vs. Akan, we argue that island constraints (positions to which a question word can be linked) cannot be reduced to the effects of the sentence processing mechanism.  Questions that violate constraints are judged better in Akan than in English, although the challenge to the sentence processor is the same for the two languages. We argue specifically that the constraints cannot be reduced to the effects of specificity of the question phrase, and must be attributed to two different grammatical mechanisms for the languages.


island constraints; sentence processing; cross-linguistic comparison

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Copyright (c) 2017 Helen Goodluck, Frank Tsiwah, Kofi Saah

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