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The role of prosody in overt pronoun resolution in a null subject language and in a non-null subject language : A production study

Gargiulo, Chiara LU ; Tronnier, Mechtild LU and Bernardini, Petra LU (2019) In Glossa: a journal of general linguistics 4(1). p.1-21
Abstract
In this study, we investigate how prosodic cues are used when an overt pronoun is associated with either a subject or an object antecedent in Italian and in Swedish. To address this question, 28 Italian speakers and 28 Swedish speakers completed a production task, by reading out loud globally-ambiguous sentences containing overt pronouns and a control interpretation task, where they selected either a subject or an object antecedent for each pronoun, contained in a globally-ambiguous sentence. We expected that the different preference patterns in antecedent assignment in the two languages would affect the speakers’ use of prosody. In Italian, overt pronouns are usually associated with object antecedents, whereas null pronouns are usually... (More)
In this study, we investigate how prosodic cues are used when an overt pronoun is associated with either a subject or an object antecedent in Italian and in Swedish. To address this question, 28 Italian speakers and 28 Swedish speakers completed a production task, by reading out loud globally-ambiguous sentences containing overt pronouns and a control interpretation task, where they selected either a subject or an object antecedent for each pronoun, contained in a globally-ambiguous sentence. We expected that the different preference patterns in antecedent assignment in the two languages would affect the speakers’ use of prosody. In Italian, overt pronouns are usually associated with object antecedents, whereas null pronouns are usually associated with subject antecedents (Position of Antecedent Strategy – “PAS” – Carminati 2002). On the other hand, Swedish overt pronouns leave a measure of ambiguity with respect to antecedent assignment. The results of the control interpretation task confirmed that the Italian speakers conformed to the PAS, but the results for the Swedish speakers unexpectedly indicated a preference for subject antecedents. For the production task, the Italian speakers produced longer inter-clausal pauses and pronouns with a higher degree of prominence with subject rather than object antecedents. In contrast, the Swedish speakers produced longer pauses and pronouns with a higher degree of prominence with object rather than subject antecedents. These results suggest that inter-clausal pause and prosodic prominence favoured the most unpredictable antecedent of overt pronouns (see Goad et al. 2018): the subject in Italian and the object in Swedish. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
volume
4
issue
1
article number
135
pages
21 pages
publisher
Ubiquity Press
ISSN
2397-1835
DOI
10.5334/gjgl.973
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
8be47715-a80a-4144-865b-1b732cc5a96b
date added to LUP
2019-10-07 12:51:50
date last changed
2019-12-11 15:35:11
@article{8be47715-a80a-4144-865b-1b732cc5a96b,
  abstract     = {In this study, we investigate how prosodic cues are used when an overt pronoun is associated with either a subject or an object antecedent in Italian and in Swedish. To address this question, 28 Italian speakers and 28 Swedish speakers completed a production task, by reading out loud globally-ambiguous sentences containing overt pronouns and a control interpretation task, where they selected either a subject or an object antecedent for each pronoun, contained in a globally-ambiguous sentence. We expected that the different preference patterns in antecedent assignment in the two languages would affect the speakers’ use of prosody. In Italian, overt pronouns are usually associated with object antecedents, whereas null pronouns are usually associated with subject antecedents (Position of Antecedent Strategy – “PAS” – Carminati 2002). On the other hand, Swedish overt pronouns leave a measure of ambiguity with respect to antecedent assignment. The results of the control interpretation task confirmed that the Italian speakers conformed to the PAS, but the results for the Swedish speakers unexpectedly indicated a preference for subject antecedents. For the production task, the Italian speakers produced longer inter-clausal pauses and pronouns with a higher degree of prominence with subject rather than object antecedents. In contrast, the Swedish speakers produced longer pauses and pronouns with a higher degree of prominence with object rather than subject antecedents. These results suggest that inter-clausal pause and prosodic prominence favoured the most unpredictable antecedent of overt pronouns (see Goad et al. 2018): the subject in Italian and the object in Swedish.},
  author       = {Gargiulo, Chiara and Tronnier, Mechtild and Bernardini, Petra},
  issn         = {2397-1835},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {12},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {1--21},
  publisher    = {Ubiquity Press},
  series       = {Glossa: a journal of general linguistics},
  title        = {The role of prosody in overt pronoun resolution in a null subject language and in a non-null subject language :  A production study},
  url          = {https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/ws/files/72865975/Gargiulo_Tronnier_Bernardini_2019.pdf},
  doi          = {10.5334/gjgl.973},
  volume       = {4},
  year         = {2019},
}