Subject: "closure"
From: Randy Allen Harris <raha -at- WATARTS -dot- UWATERLOO -dot- CA>
Date: Wed, 2 Mar 1994 17:12:26 -0500

Vicki may be right that it wandered into psychology from literary
criticism, but my guess would be that it happened the other way around. In
any case, the term has been common in psycholinguistics for at least twenty
years, where it concerns a parsing strategy which makes phrase or clause
decisions as quickly as possible (achieves closure), in order to clear the
first-stage processor for the next phrase or clause. Since the processing
models don't really "close", even metaphorically, the term is probably
borrowed from somewhere else (in psychology?).

"Closure" also has a venerable history in legalese, of course, where
negotiations achieve closure in contracts, and in parliament, where closure
is imposed on debates that the government wants to close down.

-------======= * =======-------
Randy Allen Harris
raha -at- watarts -dot- uwaterloo -dot- ca

Rhetoric and Professional Writing, Department of English, University of
Waterloo, Waterloo ON N2L 3G1, CANADA; 519 885-1211, x5362; FAX: 519 884-8995

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