The role of local and global syntactic structure in language production: evidence from syntactic priming

Holly P. Branigan, Martin J. Pickering, Janet F. McLean, Andrew J. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


Experimental research has provided evidence for an autonomous stage of syntactic processing during language production. We report eight syntactic priming experiments that investigated whether this stage uses the same procedures to produce phrases with a particular structure when they appear in different syntactic contexts. Experiments 1–3 demonstrated syntactic priming for verb phrase structure in main clauses, irrespective of whether the global structure of the prime and target sentences varied. Experiments 4–6 demonstrated syntactic priming for verb phrase structure in subordinate clauses, both when prime and target were both subordinate clauses, and when one was a subordinate clause and the other was a main clause. Experiments 7 and 8 directly compared syntactic priming between main and subordinate clauses with priming between main clauses and priming between subordinate clauses. We interpret these results as evidence that the processor uses the same procedures to build syntactic structure in different syntactic contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)974-1010
Number of pages37
JournalLanguage and Cognitive Processes
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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