Anti-locality effect without head-final dependencies
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Description: Anti-locality effects provide strong evidence for expectation-based sentence parsing models. Previous discussion of the anti-locality effect, however, largely focused on the argument-verb dependencies in verb-final constructions, for which a memory retrieval-based account has been argued to be equally adequate. We report on two self-paced reading experiments that compared two different determiners in German: the morphologically complex determiner derjenige ‘the-jenig,’ which obligatorily requires a relative clause, and the bare determiner der ‘the,’ which does not trigger such expectations. The first experiment did not show the expected anti-locality effect, but the reliability of our results was restricted by the experiment’s low statistical power. In a large-scale second experiment we addressed confounds in the design of experiment 1 and found evidence for the predicted anti-locality effect with the complex determiner. As the anti-locality effect found in our study does not involve argument-verb dependencies, the memory-based account cannot be extended to the current case. Thus, our findings provide novel empirical support for the expectation-based anti-locality effect. At the same time, the experiment attests to a locality-based processing cost in later sentence regions, hinting that memory- and expectation-based effects can co-occur within the same structure.