Strategies and Contrastive Stress

  • Lawrence Solan
Part of the Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics book series (SITP, volume 1)


The last two chapters have been concerned with the motivation for, and the description and acquisition of, structural restrictions on anaphora. While I have argued that a close look at these constraints can provide us with interesting insights into universal grammar and the language acquisition process, it is clear that the interpretation of pronouns involves much more. Apart from ruling out anaphora between a pronoun and certain noun phrases in the same sentence, the restrictions say nothing about the ways in which antecedents for pronouns are chosen. This chapter will describe a number of factors taken into account by an individual trying to find an antecedent to a pronoun: pragmatic strategies, processing strategies, parallel function and contrastive stress. It should be kept in mind that these phenomena are very different from the restrictions discussed in the last two chapters. While structural restrictions limit the class of possible antecedents for a pronoun, the strategies to be considered below take advantage of knowledge about the world, or of certain properties of language processing, in leading the hearer to the conclusion that a particular noun phrase is most likely the intended antecedent for a pronoun. However, as will be emphasized below, none of the factors de- scribed here, in spite of their central role in understanding language, can undermine the grammatical restrictions on anaphora.


Noun Phrase Relative Clause Embed Clause Main Clause Sentence Boundary 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1983

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  • Lawrence Solan

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