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On-line effects of what is expected on the resolution of plural pronouns

By Linda M. Moxey, Ruth Filik and Kevin Paterson


According to Presupposition Denial Theory, complement set reference is reference to a shortfall set which can be implied by a negative quantifier. In support of this, Moxey (2006) showed that participants produce plural pronominal reference to the complement set when a character is introduced who expects more than the amount denoted by a positive quantifier. It is not clear however whether the existence of a shortfall influences on-line comprehension. In this paper, we report four experiments measuring the eye movements of participants while they read short passages of text. In each experiment, we manipulate focus on the shortfall by introducing an expected amount before the quantified set. Our results suggest that eye movements are indeed influenced by the existence of a shortfall whether the shortfall is implied by the quantifier, or by the expectations of a salient character. This is consistent with the predictions of Presupposition Denial Theory

Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1080/01690960802634038
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