Patterson, Clare and Felser, Claudia ORCID: 0000-0001-9424-0950 (2020). Cleft Focus and Antecedent Accessibility: The Emergence of the Anti-focus Effect. In: Information Structuring in Discourse, pp. 56-85. Brill. ISBN 9789004436725

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Pronouns can refer to discourse entities that were introduced in the same or in a previous discourse unit; for successful pronoun resolution, the antecedent must be accessible. Focusing a potential antecedent seems to boost its accessibility when the pronoun appears in a subsequent discourse unit but lowers its accessibility when the pronoun is in the same discourse unit (‘anti-focus’ effect). The current study investigates the time course of antecedent accessibility within the discourse unit using an eye-movement monitoring experiment and an offline judgement task. Participants read short German texts in which a potential antecedent appeared within the same discourse unit as the pronoun and was either (i) not in focus, (ii) in cleft focus, or (iii) focused via a particle. While there was an online reading-time advantage for pronouns when the antecedent was clefted, the judgement data showed lower acceptability ratings for clefted antecedents, i.e. an anti-focus effect. We propose that clefting provides an initial retrieval advantage for an antecedent, and that the anti-focus effect emerges during later processing stages and perhaps only when participants engage in explicit reasoning. One important implication is that it is not always possible to equate easier antecedent retrieval with greater antecedent accessibility.

Item Type: Book Section, Proceedings Item or annotation in a legal commentary
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Patterson, Clarecpatters@uni-koeln.deUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-503740
DOI: 10.1163/9789004436725_004
Title of Book: Information Structuring in Discourse
Series Name: Current Research in the Semantics
Volume: 40
Page Range: pp. 56-85
Date: 2020
Publisher: Brill
ISBN: 9789004436725
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
Collaborative Research Centers > CRC 1252: Prominence in Language > TP C07
Subjects: Language, Linguistics
Refereed: Yes


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