The Text as a Context. Blurring the Boundaries Between Sentence and Discourse
A central and influential idea among researchers of language is that the sentence, by virtue of its direct relationship with syntactic parsing, represents the heart of language itself. Even in the field of pragmatics, models rooted in classical theories tend to put sentence prominence forward again. Here, we present results from recordings of event-related brain potentials that brings into question even the distinction between sentence and discourse. During natural communicative exchanges, the human brain continuously and immediately relates incoming words to the previous discourse, whether it is constituted of a word, a sentence or complex speech. Moreover, focusing on discourse instead of sentence represents a viable strategy to better understand the relationship between language and other cognitive systems.
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