UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 11 (1999)

Syntactic difficulty in English and Japanese: A textual study


This paper presents statistical analyses of the syntactic structures found in some spoken texts in English and Japanese. By studying the products of performance - spoken English and Japanese texts in particular - we will examine how much strain is caused on the working memory of speakers and hearers during the processes of speech production. By measuring difficulty in terms of "dependency distance" it is possible to compare texts in the two languages. The results show that Japanese texts are syntactically no more difficult than English ones.

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