Role of expectation and working memory constraints in Hindi comprehension: An eyetracking corpus analysis

Arpit Agrawal, Sumeet Agarwal, Samar Husain


We used the Potsdam-Allahabad Hindi eye-tracking corpus to investigate the role of word-level and sentence-level factors during sentence comprehension in Hindi. Extending previous work that used this eye-tracking data, we investigate the role of surprisal and retrieval cost metrics during sentence processing. While controlling for word-level predictors (word complexity, syllable length, unigram and bigram frequencies) as well as sentence-level predictors such as integration and storage costs, we find a significant effect of surprisal on first-pass reading times (higher surprisal value leads to increase in FPRT). Effect of retrieval cost was only found for a higher degree of parser parallelism. Interestingly, while surprisal has a significant effect on FPRT, storage cost (another prediction-based metric) does not. A significant effect of storage cost shows up only in total fixation time (TFT), thus indicating that these two measures perhaps capture different aspects of prediction. The study replicates previous findings that both prediction-based and memory-based metrics are required to account for processing patterns during sentence comprehension. The results also show that parser model assumptions are critical in order to draw generalizations about the utility of a metric (e.g. surprisal) across various phenomena in a language.


sentence comprehension; surprisal; memory constraints; incremental dependency parser; eye tracking; Hindi comprehension

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