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Cognition. 1990 Apr;35(1):1-39.

Framing sentences.

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Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824-1117.


The sentence frames formed during language production are commonly and rather uncontroversially represented as hierarchical constituent structures. There is less accord about whether the frames are pure structural configurations or limnings of meaning. We examined these alternatives with a sentence priming paradigm in which the primes and targets shared phrase structures and event structures, or only phrase structures. The results of the first and second experiments indicated that event-structure changes had no impact on a reliable tendency to replicate the phrase structures of the primes within sentence targets. The last experiment showed that this tendency could not be attributed to metrical or to closed-class lexical similarities. The implication is that sentence frames are not identifiable with metrical or conceptual information, but are comparatively independent syntactic representations.

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