Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Processing and Acquisition of Reference$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 26 July 2021

Not All Subjects Are Born Equal

Not All Subjects Are Born Equal

A Look at Complex Sentence Structure

(p.355) 14 Not All Subjects Are Born Equal
The Processing and Acquisition of Reference

Eleni Miltsakaki

The MIT Press

This chapter examines antecedent accessibility and salience within the framework of Centering Theory, based on the traditional accessibility/salience hierarchy for referential forms. In particular, it explores the effects of complex sentence structure on topichood, subjecthood, and pronominal interpretation from an empirical point of view by asking whether all subjects are born equal, whether subordinate clauses establish their own topics, and whether pronominal interpretation is sensitive to complex sentence structure. It also considers whether entities referenced within subordinate clauses interact with those in main clauses. It discusses the results of a number of experiments on adverbial subordinate clauses suggesting that entity topic status is updated sentence-by-sentence rather than clause-by-clause and that entities in subordinate clauses are relatively less available as candidate topics. The chapter also compares the use of pronouns versus full noun-phrase referring expressions to refer to entities within preceding relative clauses.

Keywords:   antecedent accessibility, salience, Centering Theory, referential forms, subordinate clauses, topichood, pronouns, relative clauses, subjecthood, sentence structure

MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.