Sentence matching and overgeneration

Stephen Crain*, Janet Dean Fodor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Freedman and Forster (1985) claim that sentence matching times for ungrammatical sentences demonstrate the psychological reality of different types of ungrammaticality, and that this implies that sentences are mentally assigned multilevel syntactic derivations as characterized by Government Binding Theory. We question the notion of overgeneration which links F&Fs conclusions to their data. And we present further experimental results which suggest that the observed differences among ungrammatical sentences do not reflect their linguistic status. Rather, they are due to a tendency for subjects to spontaneously correct some, but not all, kinds of ungrammaticality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-169
Number of pages47
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


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