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Open Access GRAMMATICAL PARALLELISM EFFECT IN ANAPHORA RESOLUTION&58; USING DATA FROM RUSSIAN TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THEORETICAL APPROACHES

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In the present study we explored structural parallelism, the preference of hearers to connect an unaccented pronoun to a referent occupying the same syntactic position. The traditional linguistic approach is based on the fact that referential preferences are associated with specific linguistic properties of potential antecedents of pronouns. Discourse-coherent approach is based on a hearer&96;s coherence-driven expectations about discourse continuation and supposes a structural parallelism effect to be a by-product of establishing relations, which provide the coherence of discourse. From this point of view, parallel reading is caused by information structure. In order to investigate the role of grammatical and information structures in the parallelism effect, and to choose between the theoretical approaches, we addressed a flexible word-order language, which has several ways of focusing, such as Russian. The two experiments demonstrated that the use of non-contrastive focusing strategy reveals parallelism bias to be equally strong for both subject-subject and object-object dependencies. We found that syntactic roles’ congruence is insufficient for the parallelism effect. Instead, parallel elements are required to occupy the topical position in the information structure of their clauses to provide the parallel reading. This evidence showed that structural parallelism effect is driven by information structure and is a by-product of establishing more general discourse relations, which provide its coherence.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratory for cognitive studies, Saint Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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