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Comprehension of marked pronouns in Spanish and English: Object anaphors cross-linguistically

Taylor, R. C., Stowe, L. A., Redeker, G. & Hoeks, J. C. J., 1-Oct-2013, In : Quarterly journal of experimental psychology. 66, 10, p. 2039-2059 21 p.

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  • Comprehension of marked pronouns in Spanish and English Object anaphors

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DOI

Previous research on pronoun resolution has identified several individual factors that are deemed to be important for resolving reference. In this paper, we argue that of these factors, as tested here, plausibility is the most important, but interacts with form markedness and structural parallelism. We investigated how listeners resolved object pronouns that were ambiguous in the sense of having more than one possible antecedent. We manipulated the form of the anaphoric expression in terms of accentuation (English: Experiments 1a and 2a) and morphology (Spanish: Experiments 1b and 2b). We looked at sentences where both antecedents were equally plausible, or where only one of the antecedents was plausible. Listeners generally resolved toward the (parallel) grammatical object of the previous clause. When the pronouns were marked due to accentuation (English) or use of specific morphology (Spanish), preference switched to the alternative antecedent, the grammatical subject of the previous clause. In contrast, when one of the two antecedents was a much more plausible antecedent than the other, antecedent choice was almost wholly dictated by plausibility, although reference form prominence did significantly attenuate the strength of the preference.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2039-2059
Number of pages21
JournalQuarterly journal of experimental psychology
Volume66
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1-Oct-2013

    Keywords

  • Pronouns, Anaphora, Accent, GRICEAN PRAGMATIC THEORY, LANGUAGE, COREFERENCE, PARALLELISM, RESOLUTION, COHERENCE

ID: 5993883