Speech Prosody 2002

Aix-en-Provence, France
April 11-13, 2002

Discourse Constraints on the Interpretation of Nuclear-Accented Pronouns

Jennifer J. Venditti (1), Matthew Stone (2), Preetham Nanda (2), Paul Tepper (2)

(1) University of Pennsylvania Institute for Research in Cognitive Science, USA
(2) Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science and Dept. of Computer Science, USA

This paper reports the results from an experimental study of on-line interpretation of nuclear-accented (subject) pronouns in English. We present data suggesting that (i) the type of inferred discourse coherence relation, and (ii) the ability to resolve the presupposition of contrast evoked by the accent locally, influences the interpretation of accented pronouns. In addition, our data tell us something about the time-course of incremental interpretation of utterances with accented subject pronouns. We find that both potential antecedents are evoked immediately upon hearing the accented pronoun. A preference for one referent over the other only emerges once subsequent propositional information is encountered which lends support for the inferred discourse relation.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Venditti, Jennifer J. / Stone, Matthew / Nanda, Preetham / Tepper, Paul (2002): "Discourse constraints on the interpretation of nuclear-accented pronouns", In SP-2002, 675-678.