Chapter published in:Current Theoretical and Applied Perspectives on Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics
Edited by Diego Pascual y Cabo and Idoia Elola
[Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 27] 2020
► pp. 175–188
The overt pronoun penalty for plural anaphors in Spanish
In null-subject languages, sentences with singular overt pronouns are read more slowly than sentences with singular null pronouns when the referent is prominent (Gelormini-Lezama & Almor, 2011). In a self-paced reading task, we tested 20 Spanish speakers to examine whether this processing delay extends to plural pronouns. Each item consisted of two sentences. The first sentence introduced two arguments with the same or different thematic roles. The second sentence contained a plural (null or overt) pronoun. Results showed that sentences with overt pronouns were read significantly more slowly than sentences with null pronouns, only when the two arguments had the same thematic role. This plural overt pronoun penalty heavily depends on semantic rather than on purely syntactic factors.
Keywords: psycholinguistics, sentence processing, plural anaphora, null pronouns, overt pronoun penalty
Published online: 04 June 2020
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