Late closure or Minimal Attachment?

asked 2015-05-03 06:54:18 -0400

Lynn gravatar image


I'm having problems knowing which parsing strategy (Late Closure or Minimal Attachment) to use when explaining how a garden-path effect comes about. I have read a previous question on this (Titled "Garden-path sentences") but am still confused.

For example, the garden-path effect is said to arise in the following sentence because of Minimal Attachment; the simplest analysis is that "his sins" is the object of "confessed" rather than the more complex analysis where it is the subject of the comlement clause (Harley, 2008).

                      The criminal confessed his sins harmed many people.

However, why couldn't we say that the garden-path effect arises due to Late Closure? According to late closure, we incorporate information to the phrase currently being processed. So in this case, when we are processing "the criminal confessed...", we would incorporate "his sins" as a part of this phrase, and then stumble when we get to "harmed"?

Thank you very much for your time!

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