The Interpretation of plural pronouns in discourse: the case of they

Francesco-Alessio Ursini, Nobuaki Akagi

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    This paper presents an experimental study on the interpretation of plural pronoun they in discourse, and offers an answer to two questions. The first question is whether the anaphoric interpretation of they corresponds to that of its antecedent NP(maximal interpretation), or by the “whole” previous sentence (reference interpretation). The second question is whether speakers may access only one interpretation or both, although at different “moments” in discourse. The answers to these questions suggest that an accurate logical and psychological model of anaphora resolution includes two principles. A first principle finds a “default” interpretation, a second principle determines when the “alternative” interpretation can (and must) be accessed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)140-147
    Number of pages8
    JournalProceedings of the Australasian Language Technology Association Workshop 2011
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    EventAustralasian Language Technology Workshop (9th : 2011) - Canberra
    Duration: 1 Dec 20112 Dec 2011

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