Information theoretic factors in marking linguistic focus: A laboratory-language approach


We present an experimental study investigating the role of information-theoretic factors in determining patterns of redundancy and focus in language and other communication systems. Pairs of participants played a simple communication game using a non-linguistic visual medium to send messages to each other. We manipulated noise, effort, and time pressures and measured message length, redundancy, and accuracy. Participants behaved as predicted based on an information-theoretic model, with message length and redundancy varying according to circumstance, but accuracy remaining constant.

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