Effects of Reference Form on Frequency of Mentionand Rate of Pronominalization
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Comprehension studies find that a referent, which is expected to be picked up more often in the subsequent discourse, is also more prone to be realized by means of a more reduced type of referring expression (typically a pronoun), compared to a referent that is less expected to be re-mentioned [1,2]. This paper evaluates this assumption and shows that it does not always hold. Specifically, I take a closer look at the effects of choice of indefinite referential form in English and German on likelihood of subsequent mention and likelihood of subsequent pronominalization. The results of two experimental studies suggest that these two factors, which pertain to the upcoming discourse, should be separated, as they point into different directions. While the type of referring expression used to introduce a referent impacts its frequency of subsequent mention, the rate of pronominalization seems to be dependent on other characteristics of the referent.
KeywordsGerman English reference pronominalization topic psycholinguistics
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