Interpreting ambiguous sentences

We are interested in the features of speech that help listeners interpret ambiguous sentences like: 

                    They ordered ham and cheese on toast.

This sentence (as printed on the page) is ambiguous because it's not clear whether both the ham and cheese are served on toast, or whether the cheese is on the toast, but not the ham (maybe it's served on the side). In speech, listeners usually know which reading a speaker intended by small differences in the way the listener spoke the utterance. We want to understand more about how this works, both in English and in Spanish.

We are looking for Spanish/English bilinguals who grew up speaking  both English and Spanish and are completely fluent in both languages.

Participants will listen to multiple versions of thee Spanish and three English utterances like the sentence above, and decide which of two possible meanings they think the speaker intended. The versions of a single sentence are different in small ways that we think will influence the listener's decision.

In addition to the main task, there is a language background survey and one or two short checks.

This study is done online on your own laptop or desktop computer, using headphones. It takes about 30-35 minutes, and compensation is $10. If needed, I will be more than happy to meet on zoom to get participants started, and to meet at the end to explain more about the study, on request.

Please write to for screening and further details.

Monday, December 6, 2021 at 6:00am

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