Letters are more difficult to detect in function words than in content words, presumably because function words serve to cue sentential structure but recede to the background as meaning unfolds. This function disadvantage was found for the definite article in German for all three genders and all four cases, but it was more pronounced when the article appeared in a nominative noun phrase than in an object noun phrase. It was also more pronounced for the typical subject-predicate-object sentential format than for the object-predicate-subject sentential format and also when the definite article unequivocally specified the case of a phrase than when it was ambiguous. The results suggest that the structural frames established on line in reading are finely tuned to both phrase-level and sentence-level organization.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)