Thomas G. Bever's now iconic sentence, The horse raced past the barn fell, first appeared in his 1970 paper "The Cognitive Basis of Linguistic Structures." This 'garden path sentence', so-called because of the way it leads the reader or listener down the wrong parsing path, helped spawn the entire subfield of sentence processing. It has become the most often quoted element of a paper which spanned a wealth of research into the relationship between the grammatical system and language processing.
Language Down the Garden Path traces the lines of research that grew out of Bever's classic paper. Leading scientists review over 40 years of debates on the factors at play in language comprehension, production, and acquisition (the role of prediction, grammar, working memory, prosody, abstractness, syntax and semantics mapping); the current status of universals and narrow syntax; and virtually every topic relevant in psycholinguistics since 1970. Written in an accessible and engaging style, the book will appeal to all those interested in understanding the questions that shaped, and are still shaping, this field and the ways in which linguists, cognitive scientists, psychologists, and neuroscientists are seeking to answer them.