UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 10 (1998)

Measuring the processing load of Japanese words


A theory of processing difficulty (Hudson 1995, 1996b) grounded in Word Grammar (Hudson 1984, 1990) provides a means of computing the syntactic difficulty for a sentence in terms of the distance of dependencies. The purpose of this paper is to determine relative processing loads for Japanese words - content words versus function words - in the hope of advancing the method in such a way that syntactic difficulty will be measured with more accuracy. I shall illustrate through an experiment that in terms of memory cost, content words are essentially more expensive than function words.

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