Journal of Logic, Language and Information 17 (4):443-466 (2008)
The aim of this article is to investigate whether choosing the appropriate referring expression requires taking into account the hearer’s perspective, as is predicted under some versions of bidirectional Optimality Theory but is unexpected under other versions. We did this by comparing the results of 25 young and 25 elderly adults on an elicitation task based on eight different picture stories, and a comprehension task based on eight similar written stories. With respect to the elicitation task, we found that elderly adults produce pronouns significantly more often than young adults when referring to the old topic in the presence of a new topic. With respect to the comprehension task, no significant differences were found between elderly and young adults. These results support the hypothesis that speakers optimize bidirectionally and take into account hearers when selecting a referring expression. If the use of a pronoun will lead to an unintended interpretation by the hearer, the speaker will use an unambiguous definite noun phrase instead. Because elderly adults are more limited in their processing capacities, as is indicated by their smaller working memory capacity, as speakers they will not always be able to reason about the hearer’s choices. As a result, they frequently produce non-recoverable pronouns.
|Keywords||Bidirectional Optimality Theory Discourse structure Language comprehension Language production Referring expressions|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
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Some Aspects of Optimality in Natural Language Interpretation.R. Blutner - 2000 - Journal of Semantics 17 (3):189-216.
The Asymmetry of Optimality Theoretic Syntax and Semantics.H. Zeevat - 2000 - Journal of Semantics 17 (3):243-262.
Logic and Conversation.Herbert Paul Grice - 1967 - In Paul Grice (ed.), Studies in the Way of Words. Harvard University Press. pp. 41-58.
Citations of this work BETA
How Cognitive Load Influences Speakers' Choice of Referring Expressions.Jorrig Vogels, Emiel Krahmer & Alfons Maes - 2015 - Cognitive Science 39 (6):1396-1418.
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