We address the question of how syntactic and prosodic factors interact during the comprehension of spoken sentences. Previous studies using event-related brain potential measures have revealed that syntactic phrase structure violations elicit an early left anterior negativity followed by a late posterior positivity (P600). We present recent experimental evidence showing that prosodic information can modulate these components and thus the syntactic processes they reflect. We conclude that the initiation of first-pass parsing processes is affected by the appropriateness of the prosodic realization of the preceding element.


King & Kutas, 1995;.
Kluender & Kutas, 1993).
Pritchard, 1981).
(Friederici, Hahne, & von Cramon, 1998)


Coles, M .G .H., & Rugg, M. D. (1995). Event-related brain potentials: An introduction. In M. D. Rugg & M. G. H. Coles (Eds.), Electrophysiology of mind: Event-related brain potentials and cognition (pp. 1-26). New York: Oxford University Press.
Cutler, A., Dahan, D., & van Donselaar, W. (1997). Prosody in the comprehension of spo- ken language: A literature review. Language and Speech, 40, 141-201.
Doyle, M. C, Rugg, M. D., & Wells, T. (1996). A comparison of the electrophysiological effects of formal and repetition priming. Psychophysiology, 33, 132-147.
Frazier, L. (1987). Sentence processing: A tutorial review. In M. Coltheart (Ed.), Attention and performance XII (pp. 559-586). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Friederici, A. D. (1995). The time course of syntactic activation during language processing: A model based on neuropsychological and neurophysiological data. Brain and Lan- guage, 50, 259-281.
Friederici, A. D., Hahne, A., & Mecklinger, A. (1996). Temporal structure of syntactic parsing: Early and late event-related brain potential effects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 22, 1219-1248.
Friederici, A. D., Hahne, A., & von Cramon, D. Y. (1998). First-pass versus second-pass parsing processes in a Wernicke's and a Broca's aphasie: Electrophysiological evidence for a double dissociation. Brain and Language, 62, 311-341.
Friederici, A. D., Pfeifer, E., & Hahne, A. (1993). Event-related brain potentials during natural speech processing: Effects of semantic, morphological and syntactic violations. Cognitive Brain Research, 1, 183-192.
Hahne, A. (1997). Charakteristika syntaktischer und semantischer Prozesse bei der auditiven Sprachverarbeitung: Evidenz aus ereigniskorrelierten Potentialstudien. Unpublished dis- sertation, Free University of Berlin.
Hahne, A., & Friederici, A. D. (1997). Two stages in parsing: Early automatic and late controlled processes. Experimental Brain Research, 117, 47.
Hahne, A., & Friederici, A. D. (1998). ERP evidence for autonomous first-pass parsing processes in auditory language comprehension. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Supple- ment, 125.
Hahne, A., & Friederici, A. D. (in press). Electrophysiological evidence for two steps in syntactic analysis: Early automatic and late controlled processes. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.
Jescheniak, J. D., Hahne, A., & Friederici, A. D. (1998). Prosodie influences on syntactic parsing: An ERP-study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Supplement, 28.
Jescheniak, J. D., Hahne, A., & Friederici, A. D. (in preparation). Prosody affects syntactic parsing.
Kempen, G. A. M. (1998). Sentence parsing. In A. D. Friedend (Ed.), Language compre- hension: A biological perspective (pp. 213-228). Berlin: Springer.
King, J., Se Kutas, M. (1995). Who did what and when? Using word and clause related ERPs to monitor working memory usage in reading. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 7, 378-397.
Kluender, R., & Kutas, M. (1993). Subjacency as a processing phenomenon. Language and Cognitive Processes, 8, 573-633.
Kutas, M., & Hillyard, S. A. (1980a). Reading senseless sentences: Brain potentials reflect semantic incongruity. Science, 207, 203-205.
Kutas, M., & Van Petten, C. (1994). Psycholinguistics electrified: Event-related brain po- tential investigations. In M. A. Gernsbacher (Ed.), Handbook of psycholinguistics (pp. 83-143). San Diego: Academic Press.
McCallum, W. C., Farmer, S. E, & Pocock, P. V. (1984). The effects of physical and seman- tic incongruities on auditory event-related potentials. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, 59, 477-488.
Nicol, J. L. (Ed.). (1996). Sentence parsing. Part 3 of 3 [Special issue]. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 25.
Pritchard, W. S. (1981). Psychophysiology of P300. Psychological Bulletin, 89, 506-540.
Rugg, M. D. (1985). The effects of semantic priming and word repetition on event-related potentials. Psychophysiology, 22, 642-647.
Steedman, M. J. (1990). Syntax and intonational structure in a combinatory grammar. In G. T. M. Altman (Ed.), Cognitive models of speech processing: Psycholinguistic and computational perspectives (pp. 457-482). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Steedman, M. J. (1991). Structure and intonation. Language, 67, 260-296.
Warren, P. (Ed.). (1996). Prosody and parsing [Special issue]. Language and Cognitive Pro- cesses, 11.
This content is only available via PDF.