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The non-subject bias of German demonstrative pronouns

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Abstract

This paper presents evidence from both corpus studies and psycholinguistic experiments regarding the referential preferences of German personal pronouns (<i>er sie, es</i>) and demonstrative pronouns (<i>der die, das</i>). Both types of pronouns are naturally used in German to refer to both animate and inanimate referents, but they appear to have different preferences with respect to their choice of antecedents: While personal pronouns show a slight preference for antecedents which are grammatical subjects, demonstrative pronouns show a strong bias for non-subject antecedents.

References

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