Ruigendijk, Esther ORCID: 0000-0003-1211-9407 and Schumacher, Petra B. ORCID: 0000-0003-0263-8502 (2020). Variation in reference assignment processes: psycholinguistic evidence from Germanic languages. The Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics, 23 (1). pp. 39-76. ISSN 1383-4924

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Referential dependencies for pronouns and reflexives can be established at different linguistic levels. According to the economy hierarchy of dependencies, syntactic dependencies are ‘cheaper’ than semantic dependencies, which are ‘cheaper’ than discourse dependencies. Psycholinguistic research on English and Dutch has shown that the interpretation of reflexives for which discourse operations are needed (i.e., in locative prepositional phrases) is computationally more costly than the interpretation of coargument reflexives that are based on syntactic dependencies only. Similarly, semantic bound variable interpretation has been shown to be less computationally demanding than discourse-based coreference interpretation. The current study investigates these dependencies in German and replicates the finding that semantic bound variable interpretation is cheaper than discourse-based coreference interpretation. In contrast and as predicted by theoretical accounts that postulate a close relationship of the verb and preposition in German that yields chain formation, no difference was found for the reflexives, supporting the idea that reflexives in prepositional phrases in German depend on the same interpretive mechanisms as coargument reflexives, indicating that the underlying syntactic configuration differs from that in other Germanic languages.

Item Type: Journal Article
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Schumacher, Petra
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-376969
DOI: 10.1007/s10828-019-09112-x
Journal or Publication Title: The Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics
Volume: 23
Number: 1
Page Range: pp. 39-76
Date: 2020
ISSN: 1383-4924
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Fächergruppe 3: Deutsche Sprache und Literatur > Institut für Deutsche Sprache und Literatur I
Subjects: Language, Linguistics
Refereed: Yes


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