Semantic Role Predictability Affects Referential Form Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Rosa, Elise
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Referential form variation, such as the choice between she and Sally, is an important component of meaningful language use. Speakers generally use reduced forms, such as pronouns or zeros, to refer the person who is the topic of the conversation, and who can be assumed to be in the center of attention. Speakers use more specific forms such as names to introduce people for the first time, or to talk about someone who hasn't been mentioned recently (Arnold, 1998; Brennan, 1995; Givon, 1983). The current set of studies examined whether predictability of being referred to also affects referential form. Some (Arnold, 2001) argue that more predictable referents are referred to with reduced forms, but others (Fukumura & van Gompel, 2010; Rohde & Kehler, 2014) argue predictability does not play a role in determining referential form. The current studies manipulated the predictability of pairs of characters in computerized and in-person story-continuation paradigms. Predictability was manipulated using Goal-Source verbs, which make the referent that was in the Goal position more predictable than the Source. In three experiments speakers used more reduced referring expressions when talking about the Goal referent as compared to the Source, in addition to the expected Subject effect. These results suggest that both predictability and topicality information influence referential form.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Estigarribia, Bruno
  • Giovanello, Kelly
  • Castro-Schilo, Laura
  • Arnold, Jennifer
  • Gordon, Peter
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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