Nature Publishing Group, publisher of Nature, and other science journals and reference works
my account e-alerts subscribe register
Monday 21 August 2017
Journal Home
Current Issue
Download PDF
Export citation
Export references
Send to a friend
More articles like this

Letters to Nature
Nature 257, 784 - 786 (30 October 1975); doi:10.1038/257784a0

Processing structure of sentence perception


Committee on Cognition and Communication, Department of Behavioral Sciences, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637

To extract meaning from a sentence, the listener must combine information from several levels of linguistic analysis. Psycholinguistic research1 has documented a range of processing levels from the phonetic to the semantic, but has not explored the central problem of specifying the interactions between these levels. We have examined three fundamental questions about the processing structure of sentence perception. When, during sentence processing, does information at different levels become available to the listener; what is the time-course of the interactions between these levels; and what is the direction of information flow between them?



1. Fodor, J. A., Bever, T. G., and Garrett, M. F. The Psychology of Language (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1974).
2. Marslen-Wilson, W. D., Nature, 244, 522–523 (1973).
3. Marslen-Wilson, W. D., Science, 189, 226–228 (1975).
4. Bondarko, L. B. et al., Working papers in linguistics, No. 6 (Ohio State University, Columbus, 1970).
5. Clark, H. H., J. Verb. Learn. Verb. Behav., 12, 335–359 (1973).
6. Woods, W. A., and Makhoul, J., Artificial Intelligence, 5, 73–91 (1974).
7. Reddy, R., and Newell, A., in Knowledge and Cognition (edit. by Gregg, L. W.) (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, New York, 1974).

© 1975 Nature Publishing Group
Privacy Policy