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The Processing and Acquisition of Reference$
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Edward A. Gibson and Neal J. Pearlmutter

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015127

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015127.001.0001

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Investigating the Interpretation of Pronouns and Demonstratives in Finnish

Investigating the Interpretation of Pronouns and Demonstratives in Finnish

Going beyond Salience

(p.323) 13 Investigating the Interpretation of Pronouns and Demonstratives in Finnish
The Processing and Acquisition of Reference

Elsi Kaiser

John C. Trueswell

The MIT Press

This chapter examines antecedent accessibility and salience in reference by focusing on the interpretation of pronouns and demonstratives in Finnish. It compares two third-person anaphoric forms referring to humans in Finnish, the gender-neutral pronoun hän (s/ he) and the demonstrative tämä (this), and argues that the salience notion typically used in the accessibility/salience hierarchy for referential forms is oversimplified. It shows that pronominal and demonstrative forms are located at different points in the accessibility hierarchy, and that pronominals hypothesized to refer to entities are more salient than demonstratives. However, the results of three experiments, two which focused on off-line sentence-completion tasks and one which monitored on-line eye movements, revealed that hän and tämä depend differently on factors that affect saliency—specifically, word order and grammatical role.

Keywords:   antecedent accessibility, salience, reference, pronouns, demonstratives, Finnish, referential forms, word order, grammatical role

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