Document Type : Research Paper


University of Tabriz, İran


The roles and effects of changes in syntax on comprehension and processing effort, and the relationships between these two, comprise a large and separate field of inquiry, with the general belief now in place that such changes and variations bring about varied psycholinguistic and discursive implications for comprehension, manifesting themselves differently in different genres.The current study is a brief attempt at bringing out the differences in the complexity of the noun groups in two novels, one of which is a 19th century novel, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, and the other is a 21st century one, Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight. Each novel was analyzed for the ten longest nominal groups used in them, representative also of the complexity inherently evidenced by a long nominal group. It turned out that there is little difference between the size of noun groups in the two novels. Thus, the added complexity and challenge in processing and comprehending 19th century prose fiction can be explained by the generic tendency in such genre towards the deployment of a higher rate of rank-shifted embedded structures in the noun groups and more varied qualifiers that employ more non-finite clauses as post-nominal qualification. There is need to look into processing difficulty and interpretation challenge posed by different literary genres for different groups of learners, because, in line with a now common SLA understanding, full and conscious comprehension, parsing and interpretation of syntactic components play a marked role in rich and native-like writing for learners.


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