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Sol on representing antecedents

Now out, Coreference and Antecedent Representation Across Languages from 2014 alum Sol Lago, with a phalanx of Terps: former RA Shayne Sloggett; current grad Zoe Schlueter; 2013 alumna Wing Yee Chow; and faculty Ellen Lau, Alexander Williams and Colin Phillips. The paper, published in the Journal Experimental Psychology; Learning, Memory, and Cognition, reports studies that used eye-tracking while reading to examine whether resolution of anaphoric pronouns, in German and English, involves rapid reactivation of the phonological and semantic properties of the antecedent. For German, a language with grammatical gender, it finds early sensitivity to the semantic but not to the phonological features of the pronoun’s antecedent. In English, on the other hand, where there is no grammatical gender, readers did not immediately show either semantic or phonological effects specific to coreference. The authors therefore propose that early semantic facilitation arises due to syntactic gender reactivation, and that antecedent retrieval varies cross-linguistically depending on the type of information relevant to the grammar of each language.