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ERIC Number: EJ950440
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 42
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 72
ISSN: ISSN-0169-0965
Focusing on Pronouns: Consequences of Subjecthood, Pronominalisation, and Contrastive Focus
Kaiser, Elsi
Language and Cognitive Processes, v26 n10 p1625-1666 2011
We report two visual-world eye-tracking experiments that investigated the effects of subjecthood, pronominalisation, and contrastive focus on the interpretation of pronouns in subsequent discourse. By probing the effects of these factors on real-time pronoun interpretation, we aim to contribute to our understanding of how topicality-related factors (subjecthood, givenness) interact with contrastive focus effects, and to investigate whether the seemingly mixed results obtained in prior work on topicality and focusing could be related to effects of subjecthood. Our results indicate that structural and semantic prominence (specifically, agentive subjects) influence pronoun interpretation even when separated from information-structural notions, and thus need to be taken into account when investigating topicality and focusing. We discuss how our results allow us to reconcile the distinct findings of prior studies. More generally, this research contributes to our understanding of how the language comprehension system integrates different kinds of information during real-time reference resolution. (Contains 3 tables, 5 figures and 2 footnotes.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California