Article published in:Spanish Learner Corpus Research: Current trends and future perspectives
Edited by Margarita Alonso-Ramos
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 78] 2016
► pp. 235–265
Pragmatic principles in anaphora resolution at the syntax-discourse interface
Advanced English learners of Spanish in the CEDEL2 corpus
Previous experimental research has shown that the syntax-discourse interface can be a locus of deficits for learners, even at very advanced levels. In this paper an L2 Spanish corpus is used to investigate Anaphora Resolution (AR) at the syntax-discourse interface (i.e., how null/overt pronouns and NP subjects refer to their antecedents in discourse). A fine-grained tagset was designed to annotate formal, pragmatic and information-status AR factors in a sample of very advanced L1 English – L2 Spanish learners vs. a Spanish native control subcorpus from the CEDEL2 corpus. The corpus analysis results reveal that, though very advanced learners can attain similar patterns to Spanish natives with AR, they show certain deficits: they are pragmatically more redundant than ambiguous. This is explained in terms of a new proposal: the Pragmatic Principles Violation Hypothesis. Results also show that the syntax of topic shift is more complex than previously assumed, with higher rates of NPs than overt pronouns. This can be accounted for by the nature of the antecedent (number of potential antecedents and their gender differences).
Keywords: anaphora resolution, null pronouns, pragmatics, syntax-discourse interface, topic shift, topic continuity, L2 Spanish, CEDEL2, Pragmatic Principles Violation Hypothesis
Published online: 16 December 2016
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