Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-684bc48f8b-mkrr2 Total loading time: 15.103 Render date: 2021-04-14T06:13:31.735Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

An experimental approach to linguistic representation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 November 2016

Holly P. Branigan
Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH8 9JZ, United Kingdom
Martin J. Pickering
Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH8 9JZ, United Kingdom


Within the cognitive sciences, most researchers assume that it is the job of linguists to investigate how language is represented, and that they do so largely by building theories based on explicit judgments about patterns of acceptability – whereas it is the task of psychologists to determine how language is processed, and that in doing so, they do not typically question the linguists' representational assumptions. We challenge this division of labor by arguing that structural priming provides an implicit method of investigating linguistic representations that should end the current reliance on acceptability judgments. Moreover, structural priming has now reached sufficient methodological maturity to provide substantial evidence about such representations. We argue that evidence from speakers' tendency to repeat their own and others' structural choices supports a linguistic architecture involving a single shallow level of syntax connected to a semantic level containing information about quantification, thematic relations, and information structure, as well as to a phonological level. Many of the linguistic distinctions often used to support complex (or multilevel) syntactic structure are instead captured by semantics; however, the syntactic level includes some specification of “missing” elements that are not realized at the phonological level. We also show that structural priming provides evidence about the consistency of representations across languages and about language development. In sum, we propose that structural priming provides a new basis for understanding the nature of language.

Target Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.


Allen, M. L., Haywood, S., Rajendran, G. & Branigan, H. (2011) Evidence for syntactic alignment in children with autism. Developmental Science 14(3):540–48. doi:10.1111/j.1467-7687.2010.01001.x.Google Scholar
Ambridge, B. & Rowland, C. F. (2013) Experimental methods in studying child language acquisition. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science 4(2):149–68. doi:10.1002/wcs.1215.Google Scholar
Arai, M., van Gompel, R. P. G. & Scheepers, C. (2007) Priming ditransitive structures in comprehension. Cognitive Psychology 54(3):218–50. doi:10.1016/j.cogpsych.2006.07.001.Google Scholar
Austin, P. & Bresnan, J. (1996) Non-configurationality in Australian Aboriginal languages. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 14(2):215–68. doi:10.1007/BF00133684.Google Scholar
Bard, E. G., Robertson, D. & Sorace, A. (1996) Magnitude estimation of linguistic acceptability. Language 72(1):3268. doi:10.2307/416793.Google Scholar
Bencini, G. M. L. & Valian, V. V. (2008) Abstract sentence representations in 3-year-olds: Evidence from language production and comprehension. Journal of Memory and Language 59(1):97113. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2007.12.007.Google Scholar
Berg, T. (2009) Structure in language: A dynamic perspective. Routledge.Google Scholar
Bernolet, S., Hartsuiker, R. J. & Pickering, M. J. (2007) Shared syntactic representations in bilinguals: Evidence for the role of word-order repetition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 33(5):931–49. doi:10.1037/0278-7393.33.5.931.Google Scholar
Bernolet, S., Hartsuiker, R. J. & Pickering, M. J. (2009) Persistence of emphasis in language production: A cross-linguistic approach. Cognition 112(2):300–17. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2009.05.013.Google Scholar
Bernolet, S., Hartsuiker, R. J. & Pickering, M. J. (2012) Effects of phonological feedback on the selection of syntax: Evidence from between-language syntactic priming. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 15(3):503–16. doi:10.1017/S1366728911000162.Google Scholar
Berwick, R. C. & Weinberg, A. S. (1984) The grammatical basis of linguistic performance: Language use and acquisition. MIT Press.Google Scholar
Bever, T. G. (1970) The cognitive basis for linguistic structures. In: Cognition and Language Development, ed. Hayes, R., pp. 279362. Wiley and Sons. Google Scholar
Biederman, I. (1987) Recognition by components: A theory of human image understanding. Psychological Review 94(2):115–17. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.94.2.115.Google Scholar
Biederman, I. & Cooper, E. E. (1991) Priming contour-deleted images: Evidence for intermediate representations in visual object recognition. Cognitive Psychology 23(3):393419. doi:10.1016/0010-0285(91)90014-F.Google Scholar
Bock, J. K. (1986) Syntactic persistence in language production. Cognitive Psychology 18(3):355–87. Available at: Scholar
Bock, K. (1989) Closed-class immanence in sentence production. Cognition 31(2):163–86. doi:10.1016/0010-0277(89)90022-X.Google Scholar
Bock, K., Dell, G. S., Chang, F. & Onishi, K. H. (2007) Persistent structural priming from language comprehension to language production. Cognition 104(3):437–58. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2006.07.003.Google Scholar
Bock, K. & Loebell, H. (1990) Framing sentences. Cognition 35(1):139. doi:10.1016/0010-0277(90)90035-I.Google Scholar
Bock, K., Loebell, H. & Morey, R. (1992) From conceptual roles to structural relations: Bridging the syntactic cleft. Psychological Review 99:150–71. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.99.1.150.Google Scholar
Bock, K. & Miller, C. A. (1991) Broken agreement. Cognitive Psychology 23(1):4593. doi:10.1016/0010-0285(91)90003-7.Google Scholar
Borer, H. & Wexler, K. (1987) The maturation of syntax. In Parameter Setting, ed. Roeper, T. & Williams, E., pp. 123–72. D. Reidel. doi:10.1007/978-94-009-3727-7_6.Google Scholar
Bott, L. & Chemla, E. (2016) Shared and distinct mechanisms in deriving linguistic enrichment. Journal of Memory and Language 91:117–40. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2016.04.004.Google Scholar
Branigan, H. P. & McLean, J. F. (2016) What children learn from adults' utterances: An ephemeral lexical boost and persistent syntactic priming in adult–child dialogue. Journal of Memory and Language 91:141–57. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2016.02.002.Google Scholar
Branigan, H. P., Pickering, M. J. & Cleland, A. A. (2000) Syntactic co-ordination in dialogue. Cognition 75(2):1325. doi:10.1016/S0010-0277(99)00081-5.Google Scholar
Branigan, H. P., Pickering, M. J. & McLean, J. F. (2005) Priming prepositional-phrase attachment during comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 31(3):468–81. doi:10.1037/0278-7393.31.3.468 Google Scholar
Branigan, H. P., Pickering, M. J., McLean, J. F. & Stewart, A. J. (2006) The role of local and global syntactic structure in language production: Evidence from syntactic priming. Language and Cognitive Processes 21:9741010. doi:10.1080/016909600824609.Google Scholar
Bresnan, J. (2007) Is syntactic knowledge probabilistic? Experiments with the English dative alternation. In Roots: Linguistics in search of its evidential base, ed. Featherston, S. & Sternefeld, W., pp. 7596. Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar
Bresnan, J. & Kaplan, R. (1982) Grammars as mental representations of language. In: The mental representation of grammatical relations, ed. Bresnan, J., pp. viilii. MIT Press.Google Scholar
Bunger, A., Papafragou, A. & Trueswell, J. C. (2013) Event structure influences language production: Evidence from structural priming in motion event description. Journal of Memory and Language 69(3):299323. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2013.04.002.Google Scholar
Cai, Z. G., Pickering, M. J. & Branigan, H. P. (2012) Mapping concepts to syntax: Evidence from structural priming in Mandarin Chinese. Journal of Memory and Language 66(4):833–49. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2012.03.009.Google Scholar
Cai, Z. G., Pickering, M. J. & Sturt, P. (2013) Processing verb-phrase ellipsis in Mandarin Chinese: Evidence against the syntactic account. Language and Cognitive Processes 28:810–28. doi:10.1080/01690965.2012.665932.Google Scholar
Cai, Z. G., Pickering, M. J., Wang, R. & Branigan, H. P. (2015) It is there whether you hear it or not: Syntactic representation of missing arguments. Cognition 136:255–67. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2014.11.017.Google Scholar
Cai, Z. G., Pickering, M. J., Yan, H. & Branigan, H. P. (2011) Lexical and syntactic representations in closely related languages: Evidence from Cantonese–Mandarin bilinguals. Journal of Memory and Language 65(4):431–45. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2011.05.003.Google Scholar
Carminati, M. N., van Gompel, R. P. G., Scheepers, C. & Arai, M. (2008) Syntactic priming in comprehension: The role of argument order and animacy. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 34(5):10981110. doi:10.1037/a0012795.Google Scholar
Chafe, W. (1976) Givenness, contrastiveness, definiteness, subjects and topics. In: Subject and topic, ed. Li, C. N., pp. 2755. Academic Press.Google Scholar
Chang, F., Bock, K. & Goldberg, A. E. (2003) Can thematic roles leave traces of their places? Cognition 90(1):2949. doi:10.1016/S0010-0277(03)00123-9.Google Scholar
Chemla, E. & Bott, L. (2015) Using structural priming to study scopal representations and operations. Linguistic Inquiry 46(1):157–72. doi:10.1162/ling.Google Scholar
Chomsky, N. (1957) Syntactic structures. Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
Chomsky, N. (1965) Aspects of the Theory of Syntax, vol. 119. MIT Press. doi:10.1016/0732-118X(86)90008-5.Google Scholar
Chomsky, N. (1980) Rules and representations. Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Chomsky, N. (1981) Lectures on government and binding: The Pisa lectures. Walter de Gruyter/Foris/Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar
Chomsky, N. (1986) Knowledge of language: Its nature, origin, and use. Greenwood Publishing Group/Praeger.Google Scholar
Chomsky, N. (1995) The minimalist program. MIT Press.Google Scholar
Clahsen, H. & Felser, C. (2006) Grammatical processing in language learners. Applied Psycholinguistics 27(1):342. doi:10.1017/S0142716406060024.Google Scholar
Clahsen, H. & Muysken, P. (1986) The availability of universal grammar to adult and child learners – A study of the acquisition of German word order. Second Language Research 2(2):93119. doi:10.1177/026765838600200201.Google Scholar
Cleland, A. A. & Pickering, M. J. (2003) The use of lexical and syntactic information in language production: Evidence from the priming of noun-phrase structure. Journal of Memory and Language 49(2):214–30. doi:10.1016/S0749-596X(03)00060-3.Google Scholar
Cooper, R. (2012) Type theory and semantics in flux. In: Handbook of the philosophy of science, Vol. 14: Philosophy of linguistics, ed. Kempson, R., Asher, N. & Fernando, T., pp. 271323. Elsevier.Google Scholar
Corley, M. & Scheepers, C. (2002) Syntactic priming in English sentence production: Categorical and latency evidence from an Internet-based study. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review 9(1):126–31. doi:10.3758/BF03196267.Google Scholar
Croft, W. (2001) Radical construction grammar: Syntactic theory in typological perspective. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Culicover, P. W. & Jackendoff, R. (2005) Simpler syntax, vol. 10. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof.Google Scholar
Dehaene, S., Naccache, L., Le Clec'H, G., Koechlin, E., Mueller, E., Dehaene-Lambertz, G., van de Moortele, P.-F. & Le Bihan, D. (1998) Imaging unconscious semantic priming. Nature 395(6702):597600. doi:10.1038/26967.Google Scholar
Evans, N. & Levinson, S. C. (2009) The myth of language universals: Language diversity and its importance for cognitive science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32(5):429–48. doi:10.1017/S0140525X0999094X.Google Scholar
Feiman, R. & Snedeker, J. (2016) The logic in language: How all quantifiers are alike, but each quantifier is different. Cognitive Psychology 87:2952. doi:10.1016/j.cogpsych.2016.04.002.Google Scholar
Ferreira, V. S. (2003) The persistence of optional complementizer production: Why saying “that” is not saying “that” at all. Journal of Memory and Language 48:379–98. doi:10.1016/S0749-596X(02)00523-5.Google Scholar
Ferreira, V. S., Bock, K., Wilson, M. P. & Cohen, N. J. (2008) Memory for syntax despite amnesia. Psychological Science 19(9):940–46. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02180.x.Memory.Google Scholar
Fiengo, R. & May, R. (1994) Indices and identity. MIT Press.Google Scholar
Fine, A. B., Jaeger, T. F., Farmer, T. A. & Qian, T. (2013) Rapid expectation adaptation during syntactic comprehension. PLoS ONE 8(10): e77661. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077661.Google Scholar
Fisher, C. (2001) Partial sentence structure as an early constraint on language acquisition. In: Perception, cognition, and language: Essays in honor of Henry and Lila Gleitman, ed. Landau, B., Sabini, J., Jonides, J. & Newport, E. L., pp. 275–90. MIT Press.Google Scholar
Fleischer, Z., Pickering, M. J. & McLean, J. F. (2012) Shared information structure: Evidence from cross-linguistic priming. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 15(3):568–79. doi:10.1017/S1366728911000551.Google Scholar
Flett, S. (2006) A comparison of syntactic representation and processing in first and second language production. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Edinburgh.Google Scholar
Flett, S., Branigan, H. P. & Pickering, M. J. (2013) Are non-native structural preferences affected by native language preferences? Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 16(4):751–60. doi:10.1017/S1366728912000594.Google Scholar
Fodor, J. A., Bever, T. G. & Garrett, M. F. (1974) The psychology of language: An introduction to psycholinguistics and generative grammar. McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
Fodor, J. D. (1983) Phrase structure parsing and the island constraints. Linguistics and Philosophy 6(2):163223. doi:10.1007/BF00635643.Google Scholar
Fodor, J. D. (1989) Empty categories in sentence processing. Language and Cognitive Processes 4:SI155–209.Google Scholar
Forster, K. I. & Davis, C. (1984) Repetition priming and frequency attenuation in lexical access. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 10(4):680–98. doi:10.1037/0278-7393.10.4.680.Google Scholar
Fox Tree, J. E. & Meijer, P. J. A. (1999) Building syntactic structure in speaking. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 28(1):7192. Available at: Scholar
Franck, J., Soare, G., Frauenfelder, U. H. & Rizzi, L. (2010) Object interference in subject–verb agreement: The role of intermediate traces of movement. Journal of Memory and Language 62(2):166–82. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2009.11.001.Google Scholar
Frazier, L. (1987) Sentence processing: A tutorial review. In: Attention and performance XII: The psychology of reading, ed. Coltheart, M., pp. 561–86. Erlbaum.Google Scholar
Frazier, L. & Rayner, K. (1982) Making and correcting errors during sentence comprehension: Eye movements in the analysis of structurally ambiguous sentences. Cognitive Psychology 14(2):178210. doi:10.1016/0010-0285(82)90008-1.Google Scholar
Gámez, P. B., Shimpi, P. M., Waterfall, H. R. & Huttenlocher, J. (2009) Priming a perspective in Spanish monolingual children: The use of syntactic alternatives. Journal of Child Language 36(2):269–90. doi:10.1017/S0305000908008945.Google Scholar
Garraffa, M., Coco, M. I. & Branigan, H. P. (2015) Effects of immediate and cumulative syntactic experience in language impairment: Evidence from priming of subject relatives in children with SLI. Language Learning and Development 11:1840. doi:10.1080/15475441.2013.876277.Google Scholar
Garrett, M. F. (1975) The analysis of sentence production. In: The psychology of learning and motivation, vol. 9, ed. Bower, G. H., pp. 133–77. Academic Press.Google Scholar
Gazdar, G. (1981) Unbounded dependencies and coordinate structure. Linguistic Inquiry 12(2):155–84.Google Scholar
Gazdar, G., Klein, E., Pullum, G. K. & Sag, I. A. (1985) Generalized phrase structure grammar. Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Gibson, E. & Fedorenko, E. (2013) The need for quantitative methods in syntax and semantics research. Language and Cognitive Processes 28(1):88124. doi:10.1080/01690965.2010.515080.Google Scholar
Gibson, E. & Hickok, G. (1993) Sentence processing with empty categories. Language and Cognitive Processes 8(2):147–61. doi:10.1080/01690969308406952.Google Scholar
Gillespie, M. & Pearlmutter, N. J. (2013) Against structural constraints in subject-verb agreement production. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 39(2):515–28. doi:10.1037/a0029005.Google Scholar
Goldberg, A. E. (1995) Constructions: A construction grammar approach to argument structure. University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Goldberg, A. E. (2006) Constructions at work: The nature of generalization in language. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Goldinger, S. D., Luce, P. A. & Pisoni, D. B. (1989) Priming lexical neighbors of spoken words: Effects of competition and inhibition. Journal of Memory and Language 28(5):501–18. doi:10.1016/0749-596X(89)90009-0.Google Scholar
Goldin-Meadow, S., So, W. C., Ozyürek, A. & Mylander, C. (2008) The natural order of events: How speakers of different languages represent events nonverbally. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105(27):9163–68. doi:10.1073/pnas.0710060105.Google Scholar
Griffin, Z. M. & Weinstein-Tull, J. (2003) Conceptual structure modulates structural priming in the production of complex sentences. Journal of Memory and Language 49(4):537–55. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2003.08.002.Google Scholar
Hale, K. (1983) Warlpiri and the grammar of non-configurational languages. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 1(1):547. doi:10.1007/BF00210374.Google Scholar
Hale, K. & Keyser, J. (1993) On argument structure and the lexical expression of syntactic relations. In: The view from building 20, ed. Hale, K. & Keyser, J., pp. 53109. MIT Press.Google Scholar
Hale, K. & Keyser, J. (2002) Prolegomenon to a theory of argument structure. MIT Press.Google Scholar
Hall, M. L., Ferreira, V. S. & Mayberry, R. I. (2014) Investigating constituent order change with elirefd pantomime: A functional account of SVO emergence. Cognitive Science 38(5):943–72. doi:10.1111/cogs.12105.Google Scholar
Halliday, M. A. K. (1967) Notes on transitivity and theme in English: Part 2. Journal of Linguistics 3(2):199244. doi:10.1017/S0022226700016613.Google Scholar
Hankamer, J. (1979) Deletion in coordinate structures. Garland Press.Google Scholar
Hartsuiker, R. J., Bernolet, S., Schoonbaert, S., Speybroeck, S. & Vanderelst, D. (2008) Syntactic priming persists while the lexical boost decays: Evidence from written and spoken dialogue. Journal of Memory and Language 58(2):214–38. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2007.07.003.Google Scholar
Hartsuiker, R. J. & Kolk, H. H. (1998) Syntactic facilitation in agrammatic sentence production. Brain and Language 62(2):221–54. doi:10.1006/brln.1997.1905.Google Scholar
Hartsuiker, R. J., Pickering, M. J. & Veltkamp, E. (2004) Is syntax separate or shared between languages? Cross-linguistic syntactic priming in Spanish-English bilinguals. Psychological Science 15(6):409–14. doi:10.1111/j.0956-7976.2004.00693.x.Google Scholar
Hartsuiker, R. J. & Westenberg, C. (2000) Word order priming in written and spoken sentence production. Cognition 75(2):B2739. doi:10.1016/S0010-0277(99)00080-3.Google Scholar
Hofmeister, P., Jaeger, T. F., Arnon, I., Sag, I. A. & Snider, N. (2013) The source ambiguity problem: Distinguishing the effects of grammar and processing on acceptability judgments. Language and Cognitive Processes 28(1–2):4887. doi:10.1080/01690965.2011.572401.Google Scholar
Hopkins, Z., Yuill, N. & Keller, B. (2016) Children with autism align syntax in natural conversation. Applied Psycholinguistics 37(2):347–70. doi:10.1017/S0142716414000599.Google Scholar
Horgan, D. (1976) The development of the full passive. Journal of Child Language 5:6580. doi:10.1017/S030500090000194X.Google Scholar
Huang, C.-T. J., Li, Y.-H. A. & Li, Y. (2009) The syntax of Chinese. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Huang, J., Pickering, M. J., Yang, J., Wang, S. & Branigan, H. P. (2016) The independence of syntactic processing in Mandarin: Evidence from structural priming. Journal of Memory and Language 91:8198. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2016.02.005.Google Scholar
Huttenlocher, J., Vasilyeva, M. & Shimpi, P. (2004) Syntactic priming in young children. Journal of Memory and Language 50(2):182–95. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2003.09.003.Google Scholar
Ivanova, I., Pickering, M. J., Branigan, H. P., Costa, A. & McLean, J. F. (2012a) The comprehension of anomalous sentences: Evidence from structural priming. Cognition 122(2):193209. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2011.10.013.Google Scholar
Ivanova, I., Pickering, M. J., McLean, J. F., Costa, A. & Branigan, H. P. (2012b) How do people produce ungrammatical utterances? Journal of Memory and Language 67:355–70. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2012.06.003.Google Scholar
Jackendoff, R. (2002) Foundations of language: Brain, meaning, grammar, evolution. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Jackendoff, R. (2007) Linguistics in cognitive science: The state of the art. Linguistic Review 24(4):347401. doi:10.1515/TLR.2007.014.Google Scholar
Kantola, L. & van Gompel, R. P. G. (2011) Between- and within-language priming is the same: Evidence for shared bilingual syntactic representations. Memory and Cognition 39(2):276–90. doi:10.3758/s13421-010-0016-5.Google Scholar
Kaplan, R. & Bresnan, J. (1982) Lexical functional grammar: A formal system for grammatical representation. In The mental representation of grammatical relations, ed. Bresnan, J., pp. 173281. MIT Press.Google Scholar
Kaschak, M. P. & Glenberg, A. M. (2004) This construction needs learned. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 133(3):450–67. doi:10.1037/0096-3445.133.3.450.Google Scholar
Katz, J. J. (1981) Language and other abstract objects. Blackwell.Google Scholar
Kempson, R., Meyer-Viol, W. & Gabbay, D. (1999) VP ellipsis: Toward a dynamic, structural account. In: Fragments: Studies in ellipsis and gapping, ed. Lappin, S. & Benmamoun, E., pp. 227–89. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Kim, A. & Osterhout, L. (2005) The independence of combinatory semantic processing: evidence from event-related potentials. Journal of Memory and Language 52(2):205–25. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2004.10.002.Google Scholar
Köhne, J., Pickering, M. J. & Branigan, H. P. (2014) The relationship between sentence meaning and word order: Evidence from structural priming in German. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 67(2):304–18. doi:10.1080/17470218.2013.807855.Google Scholar
Konopka, A. E. & Bock, K. (2009) Lexical or syntactic control of sentence formulation? Structural generalizations from idiom production. Cognitive Psychology 58(1):68101. doi:10.1016/j.cogpsych.2008.05.002.Google Scholar
Kutas, M. & Hillyard, S. A. (1980) Reading senseless sentences: Brain potentials reflect semantic incongruity. Science 207(4427):203205. doi:10.1126/science.7350657.Google Scholar
Lambrecht, K. (1994) Information structure and sentence form: Topic, focus, and the mental representations of discourse referents. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Langendoen, D. T. & Postal, P. M. (1984) The vastness of natural languages. Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
Ledoux, K., Traxler, M. J. & Swaab, T. Y. (2007) Syntactic priming in comprehension: Evidence from event-related potentials. Psychological Science 18(2):135–43. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01863.x.Google Scholar
Leonard, L., Miller, C. A., Grela, B., Holland, A. L., Gerber, E. & Petucci, M. (2000) Production operations contribute to the grammatical morpheme limitations of children with specific language impairment. Journal of Memory and Language 43(2):362–78. doi:10.1006/jmla.1999.2689.Google Scholar
Levelt, W. J. M. (1972) Some psychological aspects of linguistic data. Linguistische Berichte 17:1830.Google Scholar
Levelt, W. J. M. (1989) Speaking: From intention to articulation. MIT Press.Google Scholar
Lewis, S. & Phillips, C. (2015) Aligning grammatical theories and language processing models. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 44:2746. doi:10.1007/s10936-014-9329-z.Google Scholar
Loebell, H. & Bock, K. (2003) Structural priming across languages. Linguistics 41(5):791824. doi:10.1515/ling.2003.026.Google Scholar
Luka, B. J. & Barsalou, L. W. (2005) Structural facilitation: Mere exposure effects for grammatical acceptability as evidence for syntactic priming in comprehension. Journal of Memory and Language 52(3):444–67. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2005.01.013.Google Scholar
MacDonald, M. C., Pearlmutter, N. J. & Seidenberg, M. S. (1994) The lexical nature of syntactic ambiguity resolution. Psychological Review 101(4):676703. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.101.4.676.Google Scholar
Maratsos, M., Fox, D. E. C., Becker, J. A. & Chalkley, M. A. (1985) Semantic restrictions on children's passives. Cognition 19(2):167–91. doi:10.1016/0010-0277(85)90017-4.Google Scholar
Marslen-Wilson, W., Tyler, L. K., Waksler, R. & Older, L. (1994) Morphology and meaning in the English mental lexicon. Psychological Review 101:333. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.101.1.3.Google Scholar
Matthews, P. (2007) Syntactic relations: A critical survey. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
May, R. (1985) Logical form: Its structure and derivation. MIT Press.Google Scholar
McDaniel, D. & Cairns, H. S. (1998) Eliciting judgments of grammaticality and reference. In: Methods for assessing children's syntax, ed. McDaniel, D., McKee, C. & Cairns, H. S., pp. 233–54. MIT Press.Google Scholar
McElree, B. & Bever, T. G. (1989) The psychological reality of linguistically defined gaps. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 18(1):2135. doi:10.1007/BF01069044.Google Scholar
McMahon, L. E. (1963) Grammatical analysis as part of understanding a sentence. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.Google Scholar
McNamara, T. P. (2005) Semantic priming: Perspectives from memory and word recognition. Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
Melinger, A. & Cleland, A. A. (2011) The influence of sentential position on noun phrase structure priming. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 64(11):2211–35. doi:10.1080/17470218.2011.586709.Google Scholar
Menenti, L., Gierhan, S. M. E., Segaert, K. & Hagoort, P. (2011) Shared language: Overlap and segregation of the neuronal infrastructure for speaking and listening revealed by functional MRI. Psychological Science 22(9):1173–82. doi:10.1177/0956797611418347.Google Scholar
Merchant, J. (2001) The syntax of silence: Sluicing, islands and the theory of ellipsis. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Messenger, K., Branigan, H. P. & McLean, J. F. (2011) Evidence for (shared) abstract structure underlying children's short and full passives. Cognition 121(2):268–74. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2011.07.003.Google Scholar
Messenger, K., Branigan, H. P. & McLean, J. F. (2012a) Is children's acquisition of the passive a staged process? Evidence from six- and nine-year-olds' production of passives. Journal of Child Language 39(5):9911016.Google Scholar
Messenger, K., Branigan, H. P., McLean, J. F. & Sorace, A. (2012b) Is young children's passive syntax semantically constrained? Evidence from syntactic priming. Journal of Memory and Language 66(4):568–87. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2012.03.008.Google Scholar
Meyer, D. E. & Schvaneveldt, R. W. (1971) Facilitation in recognizing pairs of words: Evidence of a dependence between retrieval operations. Journal of Experimental Psychology 90(2):227–34. doi:10.1037/h0031564.Google Scholar
Miller, C. A. & Deevy, P. (2006) Structural priming in children with and without specific language impairment. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics 20(5):387–99. doi:10.1080/02699200500074339.Google Scholar
Miller, G. A. (1962) Some psychological studies of grammar. American Psychologist 17(11):748–62.Google Scholar
Miller, G. A. & McKean, K. O. (1964) A chronometric study of some relations between sentences. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 16(4):297308. doi:10.1080/17470216408416385.Google Scholar
Mol, L., Krahmer, E., Maes, A. & Swerts, M. (2012) Adaptation in gesture: Converging hands or converging minds? Journal of Memory and Language 66(1):249–64. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2011.07.004.Google Scholar
Nicol, J. & Swinney, D. (1989) The role of structure in coreference Assignment during sentence comprehension. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 18(1):519. doi:10.1007/BF01069043.Google Scholar
Nieuwland, M. S., Martin, A. E. & Carreiras, M. (2013) Event-related brain potential evidence for animacy processing asymmetries during sentence comprehension. Brain and Language 126(2):151–58. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2013.04.005.Google Scholar
Noppeney, U. & Price, C. J. (2004) An fMRI study of syntactic adaptation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 16(4):702–13. doi:10.1162/089892904323057399.Google Scholar
Osterhout, L. & Holcomb, P. J. (1992) Event-related brain potentials elirefd by syntactic anomaly. Journal of Memory and Language 31(6):785806. doi:10.1016/0749-596X(92)90039-Z.Google Scholar
Pappert, S. & Pechmann, T. (2013) Bidirectional structural priming across alternations: Evidence from the generation of dative and benefactive alternation structures in German. Language and Cognitive Processes 28(9):1303–22. doi:10.1080/01690965.2012.672752.Google Scholar
Pappert, S. & Pechmann, T. (2014) Priming word order by thematic roles: No evidence for an additional involvement of phrase structure. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 67(11):2260–78. doi:10.1080/17470218.2014.918632.Google Scholar
Payne, T. E. (2006) Exploring language structure: A student's guide. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Peter, M., Chang, F., Pine, J. M., Blything, R. & Rowland, C. F. (2015) When and how do children develop knowledge of verb argument structure? Evidence from verb bias effects in a structural priming task. Journal of Memory and Language 81:115. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2014.12.002.Google Scholar
Phillips, C. (2009) Should we impeach armchair linguists? In: Japanese/Korean Linguistics, vol 17, ed. Iwasaki, S., Hoji, H., Clancy, P. M. & Sohn, S.-O., pp. 4964. CSLI Publications, University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Pickering, M. & Barry, G. (1991) Sentence processing without empty categories. Language and Cognitive Processes 6:229–59.Google Scholar
Pickering, M. J. & Branigan, H. P. (1998) The representation of verbs: Evidence from syntactic priming in language production. Journal of Memory and Language 39(4):633–51.Google Scholar
Pickering, M. J., Branigan, H. P. & McLean, J. F. (2002) Constituent structure is formulated in one stage. Journal of Memory and Language 46(3):586605. doi:10.1006/jmla.2001.2824.Google Scholar
Pickering, M. J. & Ferreira, V. S. (2008) Structural priming: A critical review. Psychological Bulletin 134(3):427–59. Available at: Google Scholar
Pinker, S. (1989) Learnability and cognition: The acquisition of argument structure. MIT Press.Google Scholar
Pollard, C. & Sag, I. A. (1994) Head-driven phrase structure grammar, vol. 8. University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Potter, M. C. & Lombardi, L. (1998) Syntactic priming in immediate recall of sentences. Journal of Memory and Language 38(3):265–82.Google Scholar
Price, C. J. (2010) The anatomy of language: A review of 100 fMRI studies published in 2009. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1191:6288. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05444.x.Google Scholar
Raffray, C. N. & Pickering, M. J. (2010) How do people construct logical form during language comprehension? Psychological Science 21(8):1090–97. doi:10.1177/0956797610375446.Google Scholar
Raffray, C. N., Pickering, M. J., Cai, Z. G. & Branigan, H. P. (2014) The production of coerced expressions: Evidence from priming. Journal of Memory and Language 74:91106. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2013.09.004.Google Scholar
Riches, N. G. (2012) Sentence repetition in children with specific language impairment: An investigation of underlying mechanisms. International Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research 47(5):499510.Google Scholar
Rowland, C. F., Chang, F., Ambridge, B., Pine, J. M. & Lieven, E. V. M. (2012) The development of abstract syntax: Evidence from structural priming and the lexical boost. Cognition 125(1):4963. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2012.06.008.Google Scholar
Saffran, E. M. & Martin, N. (1997) Effects of structural priming on sentence production in aphasics. Language and Cognitive Processes 12(5–6):877–82. doi:10.1080/016909697386772.Google Scholar
Sag, I. A. & Fodor, J. D. (1994) Extraction without traces. In: Proceedings of the Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, ed. Aranovich, R., Byrne, W., Preuss, S. & Senturia, M., pp. 365–84. SLA, CSLI Publications.Google Scholar
Salamoura, A. & Williams, J. N. (2006) Lexical activation of cross-language syntactic priming. Bilingualism 9(3):299307. doi:10.1017/S1366728906002641.Google Scholar
Salamoura, A. & Williams, J. N. (2007) Processing verb argument structure across languages: Evidence for shared representations in the bilingual lexicon. Applied Psycholinguistics 28(4):627–60. doi:10.1017/S0142716407070348.Google Scholar
Santesteban, M., Pickering, M. J., Laka, I. & Branigan, H. P. (2015) Effects of case-marking and head position on language production? Evidence from an ergative OV language. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience 30(9):1175–86. doi:10.1080/23273798.2015.1065335.Google Scholar
Savage, C., Lieven, E., Theakston, A. & Tomasello, M. (2003) Testing the abstractness of children's linguistic representations: Lexical and structural priming of syntactic constructions in young children. Developmental Science 6(5):557–67. doi:10.1111/1467-7687.00312.Google Scholar
Schacter, D. L. (1987) Implicit memory: History and current status. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 13(3):501–18. doi:10.1037//0278-7393.13.3.501.Google Scholar
Scheepers, C. (2003) Syntactic priming of relative clause attachments: Persistence of structural configuration in sentence production. Cognition 89:179205. doi:10.1016/S0010-0277(03)00119-7.Google Scholar
Scheepers, C., Sturt, P., Martin, C. J., Myachykov, A., Teevan, K. & Viskupova, I. (2011) Structural priming across cognitive domains: From simple arithmetic to relative-clause attachment. Psychological Science 22(10):1319–26. doi:10.1177/0956797611416997.Google Scholar
Schlenker, P., Chemla, E., Arnold, K., Lemasson, A., Ouattara, K., Keenan, S., Stephan, C., Ryder, R. & Zuberbühler, K. (2014) Monkey semantics: Two “dialects” of Campbell's monkey alarm calls. Linguistics and Philosophy 37(6):439501. doi:10.1007/s10988-014-9155-7.Google Scholar
Schoonbaert, S., Hartsuiker, R. J. & Pickering, M. J. (2007) The representation of lexical and syntactic information in bilinguals: Evidence from syntactic priming. Journal of Memory and Language 56:153–71. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2006.10.002.Google Scholar
Segaert, K., Kempen, G., Petersson, K. M. & Hagoort, P. (2013) Syntactic priming and the lexical boost effect during sentence production and sentence comprehension: An fMRI study. Brain and Language 124(2):174–83. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2012.12.003.Google Scholar
Segaert, K., Menenti, L., Weber, K., Petersson, K. M. & Hagoort, P. (2012) Shared syntax in language production and language comprehension: An fMRI study. Cerebral Cortex 22(7):1662–70. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhr249.Google Scholar
Seidenberg, M. S. (2007) Connectionist models of reading. In Oxford Handbook of Psycholinguistics, ed. Gaskell, G., pp. 235–50. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198568971.013.0014.Google Scholar
Sevald, C. A., Dell, G. S. & Cole, J. S. (1995) Syllable structure in speech production: Are syllables chunks or schemas? Journal of Memory and Language 34(6):807–20.Google Scholar
Shibatani, M. (1996) Applicatives and benefactives: A cognitive account. In Grammatical Constructions, ed. Shibatani, M. & Thompson, S. A., pp. 157–96. Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
Shin, J. A. & Christianson, K. (2009) Syntactic processing in Korean-English bilingual production: Evidence from cross-linguistic structural priming. Cognition 112(1):175–80. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2009.03.011.Google Scholar
Smith, M. & Wheeldon, L. (2001) Syntactic priming in spoken sentence production: An online study. Cognition 78:123–64. doi:10.1016/S0010-0277(00)00110-4.Google Scholar
Snyder, W. (2000) An experimental investigation of syntactic satiation effects. Linguistic Inquiry 31(3):575–82. doi:10.1162/002438900554479.Google Scholar
Sobin, N. (1997) Agreement, default rules, and grammatical viruses. Linguistic Inquiry 28(2):318–43.Google Scholar
Sprouse, J., Schütze, C. T. & Almeida, D. (2013) A comparison of informal and formal acceptability judgments using a random sample from linguistic inquiry 2001–2010. Lingua 134: 219–48. doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2013.07.002.Google Scholar
Sprouse, J., Wagers, M. & Phillips, C. (2012) A test of the relation between working-memory capacity and syntactic island effects. Language 88(1):82123. doi:10.1353/lan.2012.0004.Google Scholar
Steedman, M. (1987) Combinatory grammars and parasitic gaps. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 5(3):403–39.Google Scholar
Steedman, M. (2000) The syntactic process. MIT Press/Bradford Books.Google Scholar
Szmrecsanyi, B. (2006) Morphosyntactic persistence in spoken English: A corpus study at the intersection of variationist sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and discourse analysis. de Gruyter Mouton. doi:10.1515/9783110197808.Google Scholar
Thothathiri, M. & Snedeker, J. (2008a) Give and take: Syntactic priming during spoken language comprehension. Cognition 108:5168. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2007.12.012.Google Scholar
Thothathiri, M. & Snedeker, J. (2008b) Syntactic priming during language comprehension in three- and four-year-old children. Journal of Memory and Language 58(2):188213. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2007.06.012.Google Scholar
Tomasello, M. (1992) First verbs: A case study of early grammatical development. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Tomasello, M. (2003a) Constructing a language: A usage-based theory of language acquisition.Google Scholar
Tooley, K. M. & Bock, K. (2014) On the parity of structural persistence in language production and comprehension. Cognition 132(2):101–36. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2014.04.002.Google Scholar
Tooley, K. M., Konopka, A. E. & Watson, D. G. (2014a) Can intonational phrase structure be primed (like syntactic structure)? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 40(2):348–63. doi:10.1037/a0034900.Google Scholar
Traxler, M. J. & Pickering, M. (1996) Plausibility and the processing of unbounded dependencies: An eye-tracking study. Journal of Memory and Language 35(3):454–75.Google Scholar
Traxler, M. J., Tooley, K. M. & Pickering, M. J. (2014) Syntactic priming during sentence comprehension: Evidence for the lexical boost. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory, and Cognition 40(4):905–18. doi:10.1037/a0036377.Google Scholar
Vallduvi, E. (1992) The Information Component. Garland Press.Google Scholar
van Beijsterveldt, L. M. & van Hell, J. G. (2009) Structural priming of adjective-noun structures in hearing and deaf children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 104(2):179–96. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2009.05.002.Google Scholar
Van der Cavey, J. & Hartsuiker, R. J. (2016) Is there a domain-general cognitive structuring system? Evidence from structural priming across music, math, action descriptions, and language. Cognition 146:172–84. doi: Scholar
Vasilyeva, M. & Waterfall, H. (2012) Beyond syntactic priming: Evidence for activation of alternative syntactic structures. Journal of Child Language 39(2):258–83. doi:10.1017/S0305000911000055.Google Scholar
Vasilyeva, M., Waterfall, H., Gámez, P. B., Gómez, L. E., Bowers, E. & Shimpi, P. (2010) Cross-linguistic syntactic priming in bilingual children. Journal of Child Language 37(5):1047–64. doi:10.1017/S0305000909990213.Google Scholar
Vernice, M., Pickering, M. J. & Hartsuiker, R. J. (2012) Thematic emphasis in language production. Language and Cognitive Processes 27(5):631–64. doi:10.1080/01690965.2011.572468.Google Scholar
Viau, J., Lidz, J. & Musolino, J. (2010) Priming of abstract logical representations in 4-year-olds. Language Acquisition 17:2650. doi:10.1080/10489221003620946.Google Scholar
Wasow, T. & Arnold, J. (2005) Intuitions in linguistic argumentation. Lingua 115(11):1481–96. doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2004.07.001.Google Scholar
Wittenberg, E. (2014) With light verb constructions from syntax to concepts. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Potsdam.Google Scholar
Wittenberg, E., Jackendoff, R., Kuperberg, G., Paczynski, M., Snedeker, J. & Wiese, H. (2014) The processing and representation of light verb constructions. In: Structuring the argument, ed. Bachrach, A., Roy, I. & Stockall, L., pp. 6180. John Benjamins.Google Scholar
Zervakis, J. & Mazuka, R. (2013) Effect of repeated evaluation and repeated exposure on acceptability ratings of sentences. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 42(6):505–25. doi:10.1007/s10936-012-9233-3.Google Scholar

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 284
Total number of PDF views: 1820 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 29th November 2016 - 14th April 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

An experimental approach to linguistic representation
Available formats

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

An experimental approach to linguistic representation
Available formats

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

An experimental approach to linguistic representation
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *