Exploring the Lexical and Acoustic Consequences of Referential Predictability

  • Elsi Kaiser
  • David Cheng-Huan Li
  • Edward Holsinger
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7099)


Findings from various domains suggest that predictability is an important component of language processing. We report psycholinguistic research suggesting that predictability also influences referential processing, in the form of reduced acoustic durations for predictable referents. However, we do not find evidence that predictability directly influences likelihood of pronominalization, contrary to some prior claims. Instead, our data indicate that the use and interpretation of pronouns is influenced by thematic role, independently of which referent is most predictable, i.e., most likely to be mentioned next. We suggest that likelihood-of-mention is influenced by the mapping between syntactic and thematic roles. Our results highlight the benefits of exploring both lexical and acoustic aspects of referential production.


psycholinguistics reference resolution anaphora predictability acoustic reduction 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elsi Kaiser
    • 1
  • David Cheng-Huan Li
    • 1
  • Edward Holsinger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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