ExLing 2010 - Third Workshop on Experimental Linguistics

Athens, Greece
August 25-27, 2010

Importing Mental Patterns of Coherence as a Comprehension Strategy: A Case Study of Errors in Reference Assignment

Pilar Alonso

Departamento de Filología Inglesa, Universidad de Salamanca, Spain

This paper addresses the interface between structural coherence, which builds on the formal and conceptual conventions of discourse, and cognitive coherence, which develops around the internal and external aspects of communication (Pasquier and Chaib-draa 2005). More specifically, the focus is on the cognitive coherence strategies set forth by discourse receivers when they encounter comprehension problems, especially those caused by non-standard uses in structural coherence. Drawing from studies on coherence and comprehension (Giora 1997; Wilson and Matsui 2000; Hobbs 2004), the paper discusses a case study which shows how error in reference assignment may encourage readers to import mental patterns of coherence, external to the discourse, as a repair strategy, thus prioritizing structural adjacency and their search for relevance over comprehension.

Index Terms. Coherence, comprehension, topic construction, adjacency, relevance

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Alonso, Pilar (2010): "Importing mental patterns of coherence as a comprehension strategy: a case study of errors in reference assignment", In ExLing-2010, 9-12.