This study examines native Spanish speakers’ use of anaphoric pronouns and null subjects in conversational discourse in the absence of coreferential antecedents. It also considers the adequacy of Gundel et al.’s proposal (Language 69(2):274–307, 1993) that the cognitive status “in focus” corresponds with speakers’ use of minimal referring expressions (i.e., unstressed pronouns and zeros). Analysis of naturally occurring Spanish conversation shows how the felicitous use and interpretation of non-canonical (antecedentless) anaphoric pronouns and null subjects are possible due to the activation of underlying cognitive frames that are shared by the interlocutors. Furthermore, the speaker’s mention of a referent, dubbed a “neighborhood antecedent” by Langacker (Conceptual grouping and pronominal anaphora, in: Fox (ed) Studies in anaphora, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996), and the information “filled in” over the course of the conversation on account of the activation of relevant cognitive frames, both license and disambiguate the non-canonical anaphoric relations.
Journal of Psycholinguistic Research – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 25, 2017
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