Sentence Processing within the Competition Model

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JungEun Year


The Competition Model was developed to account for sentence processing as well as language acquisition (MacWhinney & Bates, 1989). Based on lexical functionalism, the model assumes that language processing is an interactive process of form-function mappings mediated by competition and cooperation among lexical items. It also draws on connectionist modeling, and thus stresses the importance of frequency and the information value of linguistic input. The purpose of this paper is to review the Competition Model through a brief discussion of its main principles and empirical studies. The first part of the paper briefly reviews two major theoretical approaches in sentence processing research. In the next section, the Competition Model is presented with its theoretical background, principles, and predictions. Then, empirical studies investigating sentence processing within the model will be discussed. Finally, the paper will conclude with a discussion of methodological issues.

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