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Publication Detail
Representing Polar Questions
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Tian Y, Van Tiel B, Clin É, Breheny R
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Journal of Psycholinguistic Research
  • Status:
  • Country:
    United States
  • PII:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Polar questions, Eye-tracking, Experimental pragmatics
  • Notes:
    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Although the linguistic properties of polar questions have been extensively studied, comparatively little is known about how polar questions are processed in real time. In this paper, we report on three eye-tracking experiments on the processing of positive and negative polar questions in English and French. Our results show that in the early stages, participants pay attention to both positive and negative states of affairs for both positive and negative questions. In the late stages, positive and certain negative polar questions were associated with a bias for the positive state, and this bias appears to be pragmatic in nature. We suggest that different biases in mental representations reflect the hearer’s reasoning about the speaker’s purposes of enquiry.
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