Theresa Redl

Publications

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5
  • Hubers, F., Redl, T., De Vos, H., Reinarz, L., & De Hoop, H. (2020). Processing prescriptively incorrect comparative particles: Evidence from sentence-matching and eye-tracking. Frontiers in Psychology, 11: 186. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00186.

    Abstract

    Speakers of a language sometimes use particular constructions which violate prescriptive grammar rules. Despite their prescriptive ungrammaticality, they can occur rather frequently. One such example is the comparative construction in Dutch and similarly in German, where the equative particle is used in comparative constructions instead of the prescriptively correct comparative particle (Dutch beter als Jan and German besser wie Jan ‘lit. better as John’). From a theoretical linguist’s point of view, these so-called grammatical norm violations are perfectly grammatical, even though they are not part of the language’s prescriptive grammar. In a series of three experiments using sentence-matching and eye-tracking methodology, we investigated whether grammatical norm violations are processed as truly grammatical, as truly ungrammatical, or whether they fall in between these two. We hypothesized that the latter would be the case. We analyzed our data using linear mixed effects models in order to capture possible individual differences. The results of the sentence-matching experiments, which were conducted in both Dutch and German, showed that the grammatical norm violation patterns with ungrammatical sentences in both languages. Our hypothesis was therefore not borne out. However, using the more sensitive eye-tracking method on Dutch speakers only, we found that the ungrammatical alternative leads to higher reading times than the grammatical norm violation. We also found significant individual variation regarding this very effect. We furthermore replicated the processing difference between the grammatical norm violation and the prescriptively correct variant. In summary, we conclude that while the results of the more sensitive eye-tracking experiment suggest that grammatical norm violations are not processed on a par with ungrammatical sentences, the results of all three experiments clearly show that grammatical norm violations cannot be considered grammatical, either.

    Supplementary material

    Supplementary Material
  • Misersky, J., & Redl, T. (2020). A psycholinguistic view on stereotypical and grammatical gender: The effects and remedies. In C. D. J. Bulten, C. F. Perquin-Deelen, M. H. Sinninghe Damsté, & K. J. Bakker (Eds.), Diversiteit. Een multidisciplinaire terreinverkenning (pp. 237-255). Deventer: Wolters Kluwer.
  • Van Herpt, C., Van der Meulen, M., & Redl, T. (2019). Voorbeeldzinnen kunnen het goede voorbeeld geven. Levende Talen Magazine, 106(4), 18-21.
  • Piepers, J., & Redl, T. (2018). Gender-mismatching pronouns in context: The interpretation of possessive pronouns in Dutch and Limburgian. In B. Le Bruyn, & J. Berns (Eds.), Linguistics in the Netherlands 2018 (pp. 97-110). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    Gender-(mis)matching pronouns have been studied extensively in experiments. However, a phenomenon common to various languages has thus far been overlooked: the systemic use of non-feminine pronouns when referring to female individuals. The present study is the first to provide experimental insights into the interpretation of such a pronoun: Limburgian zien ‘his/its’ and Dutch zijn ‘his/its’ are grammatically ambiguous between masculine and neuter, but while Limburgian zien can refer to women, the Dutch equivalent zijn cannot. Employing an acceptability judgment task, we presented speakers of Limburgian (N = 51) with recordings of sentences in Limburgian featuring zien, and speakers of Dutch (N = 52) with Dutch translations of these sentences featuring zijn. All sentences featured a potential male or female antecedent embedded in a stereotypically male or female context. We found that ratings were higher for sentences in which the pronoun could refer back to the antecedent. For Limburgians, this extended to sentences mentioning female individuals. Context further modulated sentence appreciation. Possible mechanisms regarding the interpretation of zien as coreferential with a female individual will be discussed.
  • Redl, T., Eerland, A., & Sanders, T. J. M. (2018). The processing of the Dutch masculine generic zijn ‘his’ across stereotype contexts: An eye-tracking study. PLoS One, 13(10): e0205903. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0205903.

    Abstract

    Language users often infer a person’s gender when it is not explicitly mentioned. This information is included in the mental model of the described situation, giving rise to expectations regarding the continuation of the discourse. Such gender inferences can be based on two types of information: gender stereotypes (e.g., nurses are female) and masculine generics, which are grammatically masculine word forms that are used to refer to all genders in certain contexts (e.g., To each his own). In this eye-tracking experiment (N = 82), which is the first to systematically investigate the online processing of masculine generic pronouns, we tested whether the frequently used Dutch masculine generic zijn ‘his’ leads to a male bias. In addition, we tested the effect of context by introducing male, female, and neutral stereotypes. We found no evidence for the hypothesis that the generically-intended masculine pronoun zijn ‘his’ results in a male bias. However, we found an effect of stereotype context. After introducing a female stereotype, reading about a man led to an increase in processing time. However, the reverse did not hold, which parallels the finding in social psychology that men are penalized more for gender-nonconforming behavior. This suggests that language processing is not only affected by the strength of stereotype contexts; the associated disapproval of violating these gender stereotypes affects language processing, too.

    Supplementary material

    pone.0205903.s001.pdf data files

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