ITRW on Experimental Linguistics

Athens, Greece
August 28-30, 2006

Effects of Structural Prominence on Anaphora: The Case of Relative Clauses

Eleni Miltsakaki, Paschalia Patsala

School of English, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

In this paper we present a corpus study and a sentence completion experiment designed to evaluate the discourse prominence of entities evoked in relative clauses. The corpus study shows a preference for referring expressions after a sentence final relative clause to select a matrix clause entity as their antecedents. In the sentence completion experiment, we evaluated the potential effect of head type (restrictive relative clauses are contrasted with non-restrictives and restrictives with an indefinite head). The experimental data show that the matrix clause subject referent is strongly preferred as an antecedent, thus strengthening the conclusion that entities evoked in relative clauses are less salient than their main clause counterparts. Some remaining issues are discussed.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Miltsakaki, Eleni / Patsala, Paschalia (2006): "Effects of structural prominence on anaphora: the case of relative clauses", In ExLing-2006, 189-192.