Exploring the Lexical and Acoustic Consequences of Referential Predictability
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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.
Keywordspsycholinguistics reference resolution anaphora predictability acoustic reduction
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