Language specific preferences in anaphor resolution: Exposure or Gricean maxims?


In this paper we will present evidence for language specific preferences in anaphor resolution from two series of experiments in English, German, and French. For within sentence anaphor resolution with “before” subclauses, we will show that English and German follow the generally assumed preference for the first mentioned NP or subject of the sentence, whereas French shows a clear preference for the object of the matrix clause. We will argue that our data can most easily be explained by a usage-based account, linking comprehension preferences to production preferences.

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