Looking at anaphora

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The Primitives of Binding model (Reuland 2001) presents a linguistic framework to explain the complex pattern of anaphora (reflexives and pronominals) across a large number of languages, i.e. it has theoretical validity. The model consist of a syntactic, semantic and discourse module and, furthermore, incorporates an economy hierarchy: syntactic anaphoric dependencies require less processing resources than semantic anaphoric dependencies, which in turn are cheaper than discourse anaphoric dependencies. I will discuss the results of three eye-tracking experiments which suggest that this economy hierarchy is reflected in real time anaphora comprehension. Hence, the model has psychological reality as well. The implications of this conclusion will be illustrated by comparing a real time version of the model to Friederici’s (2002) neurocognitive approach to language comprehension.


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