Is native speaker variation in understanding complex sentences due to individual differences in working memory capacity or in syntactic competence? The answer to this question has very important consequences for both theoretical and applied concerns in linguistics and education. This book is distinctive in giving an historical and interdisciplinary perspective on the rule- based and experience-based debate and in supporting an integrated account. In the study reported here, variation was found to be due to differences in syntactic competence and the author argues that sentence comprehension is a learned skill, displaying many of the general characteristics of cognitive skills. The book will be stimulating reading for psycholinguists, theoretical linguists, applied linguists and educators.KEY FEATURES1 Entirely original exploration of a central problem in psycholinguistics, with innovative attempt to integrate two approaches2 Offers practical advice, based on his research findings, for teaching comprehension skills3 Topicality, particularly in respect to current efforts to teach first language grammar in the National Literacy StrategyCONTENTSList of FiguresList of TablesPrefaceAcknowledgementsIntroductionFinite State and Generative ModelsEarly Experimental StudiesConnectionist and Symbolic ModelsCurrent Theories of Individual DifferencesLong-Term Working MemorySaussure's Theory of LanguagePatterns of Individual DifferencesEffects of Recall Training and Comprehension TrainingConclusionNotesAppendixBibliographyIndexABOUT THE AUTHORDR NGONI CHIPERE is Research Fellow in the Department of Education atReading University, working on child language development. His doctoral research in sentence comprehension was undertaken at Cambridge University and he held a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Cambridge LocalExaminations Syndicate prior to his current post . He has extensive teaching experience in schools.