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Referential density in discourse and syntactic typology


Bickel, Balthasar (2003). Referential density in discourse and syntactic typology. Language, 79(4):708 - 736.

Abstract

Narrative production experiments reveal systematic crosslinguistic differences in the preferred ratio of overt to possible argument NPs (called here the REFERENTIAL DENSITY value) between three pro-drop languages of the Himalayas (Belhare, Maithili, Nepali). These differences can be accounted for by the degree to which morphosyntactic features of NPs, especially case features, are relevant for syntactic processing. This degree is the higher the more there are pivots or controllers of syntactic rules (e.g. verb agreement) that are defined not only on the basis of a thematic role hierarchy but also by a case feature (as when, for example, verb agreement is blocked by quirky case on the thematically highest argument).

Abstract

Narrative production experiments reveal systematic crosslinguistic differences in the preferred ratio of overt to possible argument NPs (called here the REFERENTIAL DENSITY value) between three pro-drop languages of the Himalayas (Belhare, Maithili, Nepali). These differences can be accounted for by the degree to which morphosyntactic features of NPs, especially case features, are relevant for syntactic processing. This degree is the higher the more there are pivots or controllers of syntactic rules (e.g. verb agreement) that are defined not only on the basis of a thematic role hierarchy but also by a case feature (as when, for example, verb agreement is blocked by quirky case on the thematically highest argument).

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Comparative Linguistics
Dewey Decimal Classification:490 Other languages
890 Other literatures
410 Linguistics
Language:English
Date:2003
Deposited On:06 Aug 2012 12:49
Last Modified:21 Nov 2017 15:26
Publisher:Linguistic Society of America
ISSN:0097-8507
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2003.0205
Official URL:http://www.jstor.org/stable/4489523

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