The comprehension of sentences containing temporal connectives
This thesis brings together ideas from psychology (particularly the work of Sever and Townsend 1979) and from linguistics (particularly the work of Partee, 1983 and Moens and Steedman 1986) about the nature of temporal representation, especially with regard to the effect of different temporal connectives on language processing. Experiments in the second chapter looked at memory for temporal information and order and results indicated that information about temporal order is less well remembered that information about spatial order. The third chapter examines the role of before as introducing sentences that can be either factive or non-facrive and concluded mat there is no clear divide between these two types of sentence, the difference depends on knowledge of regularities in the world, and it is only with clearly non-factive before sentences that readers have definite expectations . about factivity. This theme is continued in the fourth chapter which looks at SALIENCE, by examining continuations from sentences with temporal connectives and notes that a tendency to continue text from the main clause is modified by an effect of continuing from the las: occurring event, irrespective of order in the text. The fifth chapter examines the effect of context for sentence processing and concludes that context consistent with the main clause of a sentence is preferred. It also shows that similar processes are involved in building up a model containing temporal information to those involved in building a model of a spatial array. The last experiment demonstrates that lack of a clear temporal referent disrupts language processing in the same way as lack of a clear antecedent for a pronoun does. The results are discussed in terms of a possible model for representation which would include events being represented in a form similar to a "nucleus".