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ReferenceInterdisciplinary Perspectives$
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Jeanette Gundel and Nancy Hedberg

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195331639

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195331639.001.0001

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Good‐Enough Representation in Plural and Singular Pronominal Reference

Good‐Enough Representation in Plural and Singular Pronominal Reference

Modulating the Conjunction Cost

(p.123) 6 Good‐Enough Representation in Plural and Singular Pronominal Reference

Sungryong Koh

Anthony J. Sanford

Charles Clifton Jr.

Eugene J. Dawydiak

Oxford University Press

When two individuals have been linked by a connective, a complex reference object is formed, and subsequent reference by plural anaphors rather than singular ones is preferred. Two reading time and one text change detection study were carried out to examine further the details of the representation of singular and plural objects under these circumstances. The normal conjunction cost associated with subsequently referring to one of the individuals by a singular pronoun is eliminated in circumstances where for the purposes of communication there is nothing to be gained from a singular/plural distinction. The findings fit with current views of shallow, good-enough processing, in which semantic distinctions in mental representations are only made when functionally necessary.

Keywords:   plural anaphors, complex reference object, conjunction cost, good-enough processing, shallow processing, text change detection

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