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Information Structure and Pronoun Resolution in German and French: Evidence from the Visual-World Paradigm

  • Saveria ColonnaEmail author
  • Sarah Schimke
  • Barbara Hemforth
Chapter
Part of the Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics book series (SITP, volume 44)

Abstract

The experiments presented here investigated the interplay of language-specific and language-independent factors influencing within-sentence anaphora resolution. Using the visual-world paradigm, we looked at interpretation preferences in French and German. We investigated the effects of both the information status and the grammatical role of the first-mentioned referent on pronoun interpretation. The results show that the effects of grammatical role are different in the two languages: there is a clear lasting preference for the object in French but not in German. Explicitly topicalizing or focusing the first referent, however, has similar effects in the two languages: topicalization leads to more binding of ambiguous pronouns to a potential antecedent than focusing. We argue that this effect is independent of antecedent salience.

Keywords

Pronoun resolution Visual world paradigm Information structure French German 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Pirita Pyykkönen and Daniel Holt for giving us the opportunity to collect the German data as well as their help with running the experiment and finding participants.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saveria Colonna
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sarah Schimke
    • 2
  • Barbara Hemforth
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Structures Formelles du LangageCNRS, Université Paris 8ParisFrance
  2. 2.GermanistikUniversity of OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany
  3. 3.Laboratoire de Linguistique FormelleCNRS, Université Paris DiderotParisFrance

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