LingLang Lunch (4/16/2014): Lee Edelist (Brown University)

Pronoun resolution in multi-utterance discourse

This talk will look at several pragmatic theories of pronoun resolution (Centering, Accessibility theory and Coherence-based theory), will identify how they complement each other, and point out what is still not accounted for. Mainly, all of these theories focus on examples that consist of one or two consecutive utterances. Natural discourse, though, is not limited to two-utterance stints. I’ll show that when co-reference is carried over multiple utterances, the rules are a bit different than what has been described thus far. Finally, I’ll discuss a proposed study that will observe readers’ judgments of the identity of pronoun referents in conditions when different theories hold conflicting predictions.