1632. Garden Paths

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If you don’t remember what garden path sentences are:

A Wikipedia article

And, more importantly,

A Dinosaur Comic


I got a delightful email from Thomas Bever, who invented garden path sentences, pointing out that this comic is not an ACTUAL garden path sentence.

I think he explains it very well (as you would suppose he would):

“Note that the sentence [...]
is a problem only when read: when spoken it is easily disambiguated by a pause and change of intonation register between I and like: in fact, since ‘like garden paths’ is definitely an interjection normal pronunciation requires those cues.

There is no such escape for ‘the horse raced past the barn fell’. There is no way of pronouncing it that helps naive listeners figure it out.”

I am telling you this both so as not to mis-educate you about garden path sentences AND because I want to brag about the inventor of garden path sentences emailing me.