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Expectations about upcoming discourse referents

Expectations about upcoming discourse referents AbstractIn the current study, we explore how different information-structural devices affect which referents conversational partners expect in the upcoming discourse. Our main research question is how pitch accents (H*, L+H*) and focus particles (German nur ‘only’ and auch ‘also’) affect speakers’ choices to mention focused referents, previously mentioned alternatives or new, inferable alternatives. Participants in our experiment were presented with short discourses involving two referents and were asked to orally produce two sentences that continue the story. An analysis of speakers’ continuations showed that participants were most likely to mention a contextual alternative in the condition with only and the L+H* conditions, followed by H* conditions. In the condition with also, in turn, participants mentioned both the focused/accented referent and the contextual alternative. Our findings highlight the importance of information structure for discourse management and suggest that speakers take activated alternatives to be relevant for an unfolding discourse. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Review of Pragmatics Brill

Expectations about upcoming discourse referents

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1877-3095
eISSN
1877-3109
DOI
10.1163/18773109-01401003
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractIn the current study, we explore how different information-structural devices affect which referents conversational partners expect in the upcoming discourse. Our main research question is how pitch accents (H*, L+H*) and focus particles (German nur ‘only’ and auch ‘also’) affect speakers’ choices to mention focused referents, previously mentioned alternatives or new, inferable alternatives. Participants in our experiment were presented with short discourses involving two referents and were asked to orally produce two sentences that continue the story. An analysis of speakers’ continuations showed that participants were most likely to mention a contextual alternative in the condition with only and the L+H* conditions, followed by H* conditions. In the condition with also, in turn, participants mentioned both the focused/accented referent and the contextual alternative. Our findings highlight the importance of information structure for discourse management and suggest that speakers take activated alternatives to be relevant for an unfolding discourse.

Journal

International Review of PragmaticsBrill

Published: Feb 22, 2022

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