Do Marked Topics Enhance Memory?

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We examined the effects of markedness, the deviation from the canonical Subject-Verb-Object structure in English, on the memory of listeners for the topic of the sentence. We used three marked topic constructions: Left-Dislocation, Object-Fronting, and Subject-Marking. Sentences with these structures were inserted as the 6th item in lists of 12 canonical sentences. in all sentences the topic was the name of a man. We measured recall of the critical name. The results revealed that topics of Left-Dislocated sentences were recalled more than topics of the other constructions, with topics of object-Fronting sentences recalled the least. We briefly discuss how sentence processing procedures might give rise to these effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-17
Number of pages13
JournalResearch in Language
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011


  • Japanese
  • intelligibility
  • personal narrative
  • pragmatics
  • repairs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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