Research in sentence comprehension attempts to discover what representations are used when people understand sentences, and how these representations are arrived at during the course of understanding a sentence. Recent results have suggested that constructing an interpretation for a sentence involves the moment-by-moment integration of a variety of different information sources, such as the lexicon, syntax, plausibility and context. These information sources interact with the available computational resources to provide constraints on the permissible interpretation(s) for a string of incoming words in determining the final interpretation. In this course we will survey current evidence for some of these constraints and we will discuss recently proposed sentence comprehension models.


There is no textbook for this class. For each class session, readings are assigned from a variety of book and journal sources.

Course Requirements

10% for discussion in class. Students should have prepared the readings before attending class.

40% for four 3 page papers, briefly reviewing one or more papers to be covered in one of the classes. One of these papers will be presented orally for 20-30 minutes in class on the day that this paper is to be discussed.

Papers other than the ones listed here (but on the same topic) can be considered for presentation. Please get my approval on your choice. Due dates: Lecture 2; Lecture 5; Lecture 8; Lecture 10.

50% for a final project/paper, due three days after Lecture 12. If this is a paper, it should be roughly 10-20 pages. This paper can be on any topic in sentence processing. This paper may consist of novel proposals, analysis and data, or alternatively it may consist of a review article in a specified area, with evaluation and commentary.