Article

Representations underlying pronoun choice in Italian and English

Details

Citation

Fukumura K, Hervé C, Sandra V, Zhang S & Foppolo F (2022) Representations underlying pronoun choice in Italian and English. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 75 (8), pp. 1428-1447. https://doi.org/10.1177/17470218211051989

Abstract
Research has shown that speakers use fewer pronouns when the referential candidates are more similar and hence compete more strongly. Here we examined the locus of such an effect, investigating whether pronoun use is affected by the referents’ competition at a non-linguistic level only (non-linguistic competition account) or whether it is also affected by competition arising from the antecedents’ similarities (linguistic competition account) and the extent to which this depends on the type of pronoun. Speakers used Italian null pronouns and English pronouns less often (relative to full nouns) when the referential candidates compete more strongly situationally, whilst the antecedents’ semantic, grammatical or phonological similarity did not affect the rates of either pronouns, providing support for the non-linguistic competition account. However, unlike English pronouns, Italian null pronouns were unaffected by gender congruence between human referents, running counter to the gender effect for the use of non-gendered overt pronouns reported earlier. Hence, whilst both null and overt pronouns are sensitive to non-linguistic competition, what similarity affects non-linguistic competition partly depends on the type of pronouns.

Keywords
language production; referential communication; similarity-based competition

Journal
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology: Volume 75, Issue 8

StatusPublished
FundersThe Leverhulme Trust
Publication date31/08/2022
Publication date online31/10/2021
Date accepted by journal23/09/2021
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/33402
ISSN1747-0218
eISSN1747-0226

People (2)

People

Dr Kumiko Fukumura
Dr Kumiko Fukumura

Lecturer, Psychology

Dr Shi Zhang
Dr Shi Zhang

Research Assistant, Psychology