Personal Pronouns and D-Pronouns in German: Connecting Comprehension to Production

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Dokumentart: ConferenceObject
Date: 2017-08
Language: English
Faculty: 5 Philosophische Fakultät
Department: Allgemeine u. vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft
DDC Classifikation: 400 - Language and Linguistics
430 - Germanic languages; German
Keywords: Linguistik , Personalpronomen
Other Keywords:
Pronoun resolution
Choice of referential form
Continuation experiments
Corpus study
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We review recent experiments and corpus data from our ongoing investigation of p(ersonal) and d(emonstrative) pronouns. Contrary to a widespread belief, d-pronouns did not always refer to non-topical antecedents in case of referential ambiguity. More generally, the data that we review show that a complex interplay of factors governs the processing of p-pronouns and d-pronouns. During language comprehension, syntactic function, position, and topichood of the antecedent are all taken into account when interpreting a p- or d-pronoun. Similarly, the choice between p- and d-pronoun during language production is heavily influenced by these three factors. We propose an interpretation and a production rule for d-pronouns, both based on prominence features. For interpretation, the proposed rule simply counts prominence features and assigns the d-pronoun the antecedent that is least prominent. For production, we propose a similar rule for choosing between a p- and d-pronoun for referring to a given antecedent. In contrast to interpretation, the rule for choosing a pronominal form makes use of weighted prominence features and relates prominence to production frequency in an exponential way.

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