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PRONOUNS I Today’s Lecture  Pronouns and Salience  Degrees of Salience. What brings an entity into focus of attenti PowerPoint Presentation
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PRONOUNS I Today’s Lecture  Pronouns and Salience  Degrees of Salience. What brings an entity into focus of attenti

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PRONOUNS I Today’s Lecture  Pronouns and Salience  Degrees of Salience. What brings an entity into focus of attenti
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  1. PRONOUNS I Today’s Lecture  Pronouns and Salience  Degrees of Salience. What brings an entity into focus of attention?  Personal vs. Demonstrative Pronouns.  Pronouns without NP antecedents  Hobbs’ algorithm • Constraints are ‘grammar-driven’, i.e. determined by (knowledge of) the language system . • Pragmatic factors (preferences) such as relevance, plausibility, processing effort, informativeness interact with these at the grammar-pragmatics interface • To what extent can/should the two be distinguished?

  2. PRELIMINARIES Factors that constrain the form/generation and interpretation of nominal expressions  descriptive content (incl. gender, number, etc.)  syntactic constraints (e.g. binding conditions)  cognitive status (e..g. familiar, activated etc.)

  3. CONSRAINTS VS. PREFERENCES • Constraints are ‘grammar-driven’, i.e. determined by (knowledge of) the language system . • Pragmatic factors (preferences) such as relevance, plausibility, processing effort, informativeness interact with these at the grammar-pragmatics interface • To what extent can/should the two be distinguished?

  4. What is a pronoun? Non-technical definition:A lexical item with minimal descriptive content that functions like a nominal expression (also clitics and ‘null pronouns’) Some English examples • Personal pronouns, e.g. he, she, it, they, her, his, its, their, you , me • Demonstrative pronouns: e.g. this, that, these • Indefinite pronoun: eg. one More formal definition depends on the theory. Maybe pronouns are really (intransitive) determiners.

  5. Pronouns and Salience: Pronouns require the referent to have a relatively high degree of accessibility. As recent mention is the most common source of accessibility , pronouns typically have an NP antecedent in the same or previous sentence. (1) ..the boxcarswill have to go through Corning because that's where the orange juice orange factoryis [Switchboard Corpus. Heeman & Allen 1995] (2)one of the most popular American rock bands of the 90’s, the Smashing Pumpkins, announced that it would break up after its current tour…[Teeney-Boppers Shatter a Record. NYT 5.24.2000] (3)Central to the case was a Lewinsky-Tripp conversation that Mrs. Tripp taped on Dec. 22, 1997. This was the last talk between the two women that Mrs. Tripp recorded, and it occurred, prosecutors said, just after her lawyer had informed her[Maryland is dropping wiretap … NYT 5.24.2000]

  6. (4) (B has told A that she/he has a dog, A. Oh. So you ‘ve only known the dog how long did you say? B. Well, about a year, I guess. Version I A: Oh well. Is it, uh, how old is the dog? B. It just turned two, I believe. A. Oh. It’s just a pup. Version II A: Oh well. Is it, uh, how old is it? B. It just turned two, I believe. A. Oh. It’s just a pup. Version III A: Oh well. Is the dog, uh, how old is the dog? B. The dog just turned two, I believe. A. Oh. the dog is just a pup.

  7. Pronouns typically require overt mention of the referent, while definite descriptions are possible if the referent is simply inferable Classic example from Partee. (5) a. I dropped 10 marbles and found only one. The missing marble was under the table. b. I dropped 10 marbles and found only one. It was under the table. (6) a. I dropped 10 marbles and found only 9. The missing marble was under the table. b. I dropped 10 marbles and found only 9. #It was under the table.

  8. Also, inferrables/bridging inferences (Clark 1977, Prince 1981, Hawkins 1978 ) and other examples of what Erkü and Gundel 1987 call ‘indirect anaphora’ don’t typically allow pronouns (see also Webber 1981). (7) a. We traveled to Rome twice. The trips both took 2 hours. b. We traveled to Rome twice. # They both took 2 hours. (from Erkü and Gundel 1987) (8) a. That book won a Nobel Prize. I know the author. b. That book won a Nobel Prize. #I know her.

  9. Pronouns typically have a recent NP antecedent. These are also the simplest cases for pronoun resolution theories and algorithms to account forl But having a recent NP antecedent is not a sufficient condition for appropriate pronoun use. • a. My neighbor’s Collie bit a girl on a bike. b. It’s the same dog that bit me. (10) a. Sears delivered new siding to my neighbors with the Collie. b. #It’s the same dog that bit me. (adapted from Gundel et al 1993)

  10. Degrees of Salience What makes some activated referents more salient than others? What brings an entity into focus of attention? • Entities in focus at a given point in the discourse will be that subset of activated entities (often no more than one) which are most salient, and thus most likely to be continued as topics of subsequent utterances. Membership in this set is partly, though not wholly, determined by syntactic structure. (cf. the Centering Algorithms of Grosz, Joshi and Weinstein 1983, 1995). (Gundel, Hedberg and Zacharski 1993)

  11. Syntactic dominance takes priority over recency of mention • subject > (object) > oblique (e.g. Bock and Warren 1985, Brennan 1995, Gordon et al 1993, Hudzon D’Zmura and Tannenhaus 1998) . sentence initial (including syntactic topic) position (Gernsbacher and Hargreaves 1988, Gordon et al 1993) (13) John put the wine on the table. It was brown and round.(Hirst 1981)

  12. syntactic focus (of a cleft sentence) > non-focus (Arnold 1997, 1998 , Almor 1999, Carpenter and Just 1977) (14) Jane had been waiting for the phone call all day. It was Mary who called her. She was thrilled by the news. (15) Jane had been waiting for the phone call all day. Finally she received a call from Mary. She was thrilled by the news. • Main clause > subordinate clause (16) a. We stopped for drinks at the Hilton before going to the Thai restaurant. It was closed. b. Before going to the Thai restaurant, we stopped for drinks at the Hilton. It was closed. • recency of mention – except for ‘higher order topics’ entities in focus typically must have been mentioned in the same sentence or in the immediately preceding sentence/utterance, but little evidence that recency itself is a major factor, and it doesn’t override syntactic dominance.

  13. recency of mention – except for ‘higher order topics’ entities in focus typically have been mentioned in the same sentence or in the immediately preceding sentence/utterance, but little evidence that recency itself is a major factor, and it doesn’t override syntactic dominance (see also Fox) • Frequency of mention -entities mentioned more than once more salient than ones mentioned only once. • Anyway , going back from the kitchen then is a little hallway leading to a window. Across from the kitchen is a big walk-through closet. And next to it …. (18) Anyway , going back from the kitchen then is a little hallway leading to a window. Across from the hallway is a big walk-through closet. And next to it…. Other factors? Under what conditions do objects and obliques bring an entity into focus? Does the predicate matter? More studies needed, including studies of large corpora.

  14. Unstressed personal pronouns vs. stressed and demonstrative pronouns • Most, if not all , languages have two sets of definite pronouns one of which requires a higher degree of salience than the other. The one requiring the higher degree may be a zero pronoun, i.e. an empty argument position. In English the distinction is between unstressed personal pronouns and stressed pronouns or demonstratives. some cases where where an unstressed personal pronoun doesn’t work, a stressed or demonstrative pronoun is just fine. (19) Sears delivered new siding to my neighbors with the Collie. a. #It’s the same dog that bit me. b. That’s the same dog that bit me. • Unstressed personal pronouns require their referents to be in focus. Stressed pronouns and demonstratives only require activation

  15. Since anything in focus is also activated, using a demonstrative or stressed pronoun often gives rise to a scalar implicature, making the in focus referent unavailable, i.e. it implicates ‘not in focus’ (cf. ‘some’ implicates ‘not all’ ) (20) Jane had been waiting for the phone call all day. Finally, she received a call from Mary. She was thrilled by the news. (21) Jane had been waiting for the phone call all day. Finally she received a call from Mary. SHE was thrilled by the news. (22) John put the wine on the table. It was brown and round. (23) John put the wine on the table. That was brown and round.

  16. (24) We stopped for drinks at the Hilton before going to the Thai restaurant. It was closed. (25) We stopped for drinks at the Hilton before going to the Thai restaurant. That was closed. (26) Anyway , going back from the kitchen then is a little hallway leading to a window. Across from the kitchen is a big walk-through closet. And next to it… (27) Anyway , going back from the kitchen then is a little hallway leading to a window. Across from the kitchen is a big walk-through closet. And next to that…

  17. But if there is only one activated entity, distinguishing in focus from activated status becomes irrelevant, and ‘it’ can be replaced with ‘that’ without a change in interpretation (assuming other restrictions on the use of the form are met. (28) I love John’s kitchen. a. It’s my favorite room in the house. b. That’s my favorite room in the house. (29) My neighbor’s Collie bit a girl on a bike. a. It’s the same dog that bit Mary Ben last summer. b That’s the same dog that bit Mary Ben last summer.

  18. SUMMARY SO FAR: • all pronouns require referents to have some minimal level of salience/accessibility – the referents must be at least activated (in working memory) • an entity can acquire activated status by being recently introduced (or by being present in the immediate spatiotemporal context) • Some pronouns require a higher degree of salience than others – referent must be not only in working memory but in the addressee’s focus of attention. • Factors that contribute to bringing an entity into focus of attention include syntactic dominance and frequency of mention . But complete set of factors contributing to in focus status still not fully understood.

  19. So far we’ve been looking mainly at examples with NP antecedents. But an NP antecedent isn’t necessary for either personal pronouns or demonstratives. Number of pronouns without NP antecedents reported in corpus studies ranges from 16% to as high as 55% , depending on whether or not demonstratives are counted (Botley 1996, Byron and Allen 1998, Byron 2002, Gundel, Hedberg and Zachaski 2002). Referent in the immediate spatio-temporal context (30) Speaker sees addressee looking admiring a vase. It’s beautiful , isn’t it. (31) a. Please hand me that. b. Please hand me it. • a. (Dentist) Did that hurt? • b. (Dentist) Did it hurt?

  20. Inferrables/Bridging Inferences/Associative Anaphors (33) (Talking about how the kids across the street threw paint in their yard0 Those kids are just – And she’s pregnant with another one. (Santa Barbara Corpus 2.294, Gundel et al 2002) (34) A. Was it Trish who told you she was pregnant? B. She looked really good. Where are they going to church?(Santa Barbara Corpus. 13.221, Gundel et al 2002).

  21. Non-referential (expletive/pleonastic) pronoun uses (35) It’s raining again. (36) It was John who said that. (37) It’s terrible that we weren’t told about this. • Some people argue there are no real expletives and that thee subject pronouns are meaningful. In any case, this is a syntactic problem. It’s not necessary to assign a referent in order to understand the sentence , and the syntax / parser should prevent you from doing that.

  22. Vague inferrables (38) And they say that if there’s six years between children, there’s not that much rivalry. (SB corpus) (39) And they probably didn’t have to wash their salads back then, because they didn’t know what was on them. (SB Corpus) (40) He said I didn’t get done working until after nine…Cause that five-car pile up they had between Hardin and Crow. (SB Corpus)

  23. Pronouns with non-nominal antecedents (e.g. clause, VP) • in English, less than 20% of these are the personal pronoun it; the rest it; the rest are demonstratives (Webber 1988, 1991, Hegarty , Gundel and Borthen 2001, Byron and Allen 1998)  Replacing this/that with it can yield a different interpretation (41)“We believe her, the court does not, and that resolves the matter,” [NY Times, 5/24/ 00] • “We believe her, the court does not, and it resolves the matter,”  It’s not just a matter of competition (43) #“We believe her and it resolves the matter,”

  24. It also doesn’t just depend on the predicate. If we repeat the reference and thereby cause it to be reprocessed, making it more salient – reference with ‘it’ becomes fine. • (44) We believe her and, if you accept that, it resolves the matter. Can explain such facts if we make two independently motivated assumptions:  demonstrative pronouns only require the referent to be activated; it requires the referent to be not only activated, but in focus of attention.  an entity introduced by a non-nominal is less likely to be brought into focus than an entity introduced by a nominal in a main clause argument position.

  25. if the entity is an event or activity described by the non-nominal expression, reference with either it or that is possible. (45) A. Mary broke her arm. B. Oh. When did it happen? (Also ok. When did that happen?) (46) What do you think he would do if Taylor’s baby died? Do you think he’d just go on with his life like nothing mattered? Like it didn’t even happen. (“The Bold and the Beautiful”, Jan. 30, 2001, CBS) (47) What do you think he would do if Taylor’s baby died? Do you think he’d just go on with his life like nothing mattered? Like that didn’t even happen.

  26. Possibility of reference with it related to degree of world immanence’ (Asher 1993) . Events and states have high world immanence;`purely abstract objects like propositions have low world immanence; facts and situations are in between. In processing terms, the event described by a sentence is directly and necessarily introduced into a discourse by virtue of processing that sentence. Facts and propositions must be inferred (‘higher order’); If we have a series of events, it no longer works • Gods usually come about after people settle down, start tilling crops and develop hierarchical social structures. None of that happened until almost $10,000 years after these figurines were made. (Science 263, 1994) • .. #None of it happened until almost $10,000 years after these figurines were made.

  27. (49) Gods usually come about after people settle down, start tilling crops and develop hierarchical social structures. #None of it happened until almost $10,000 years after these figurines were made. (Science 263, 1994) • But the pronoun here refers to a complex event that has to be conceptualized as a single entity. This complex event wasn’t directly introduced by the previous sentence , but requires extra processing before it can be conceptualized as a separate entity.

  28. Reference to facts, propositions , etc. associated with the content of a whole clause typically don’t allow immediately subsequent reference with it. (50) Proposition Do we really believe that Romanian orphan babies left alone in their beds will have the same potential for happiness as those raised by caring parents of ample means? That is precisely what quotes such as those above will be taken to imply. (Cook-Deegan, R 2001. Hype and hope. American Scientist 89.1:62-64.) # It is precisely what quotes such as those above will be taken to imply.

  29. (51) Fact People are excited to know more about where their food comes from and who makes it. That has been one of the most motivating aspects of this experience so far. (B. Dooley, “Shepherd’s Way Farms.”. Twin Cities Natual Food Co-Ops, 6/02) (52) People are excited to know more about where their food comes from and who makes it. #It has been on of the most motivating aspects of this experience so far.

  30. (53) Wheat is versatile and available, so it is made into starches, thickeners, flavorings and even used to dust the rollers at candy factories, and that is a problem when someone really allergic needs some chocolate. (54) Wheat is versatile and available, so it is made into starches, thickeners, flavorings and even used to dust the rollers at candy factories, #and it is a problem when someone really allergic needs some chocolate. facts and propositions can be referred to with it if they are previously introduced/processed as facts and propositions. (55) People are excited to know more about where their food comes from and who makes it. That has been one of the most motivating aspects of this experience so far. It was also motivating for my business partner.

  31. It also works if there is some other factor that boosts salience, e.g.prior belief or presupposition. • a. I hear linguists earn less than computer • scientists, and that’s terrible. b. ?? I hear linguists earn less than computer scientists, and it’s terrible. (57) A: I just read that linguists earn less than computer scientists. B: That’s terrible! B’: It’s terrible! In (57) both it and that can refer to the situation described by A ( linguists earn less than computer scientists), but with slightly different interpretations.

  32. (58) A: You have a dental appointment at . B: That’s true. B’:??It’s true. B”: It’s true, then. If the mere utterance of a sentence doesn’t bring the expressed proposition into focus, this would explain why B’ sounds unnatural, given that it requires the referent to be in focus, while that only requires activation. But B” is noticeably more acceptable than B’. Drawing on a relevance- theoretic approach to language understanding (Sperber and Wilson 1986) wc can explain this as follows: then in B” isan interpretive particle which conveys the meaning that the content of the sentence it is appended to follows by way of inference from something just said. B” means essentially, “Given your assertion that I have a dental appointment at 3, then I can take it as confirmed that I have a dental appointment at 3.” The only way this utterane can yield contextual effects for A, is if A’S utterance confirmed the truth of a proposition B had been questioning, and B knows that A is aware of this. So the fact that B had a dental appointment at 3 was not activated for the first time by A; rather, A’s utterance brought into focus a fact that was already mutually manifest to both A and B beforehand, thereby licensing the use of it in B” .

  33. salience can also be boosted non-linguistically , by gesture or facial expression. (59) A: Why didn’t you come to the rehearsal yesterday? B: I thought I told you. I had to help Peter move. (Pause) It’s true! This works only if A gives B a skeptical look or indicates in some other way (silence) that she doesn’t believe him. The skeptical look communicates A’s skepticism about the truth of the proposition just expressed by B, thus causing the proposition to be reprocessed, and assuring that it is mutually in focus, making it accessible to reference with it.. Compare (60)

  34. A. Why didn’t you come to the meeting yesterday? • B. I thought I told you. I had to help Peter move. • A. Is that true? A’ #Is it true?

  35. With complements of factive verbs and other predicates that assume truth or familiarity of their complements , subsequent reference with ‘it’ is more acceptable than with complements of bridge verbs , when these complements are focal (Hegarty 2000, Hegarty et al 2002, Gundel et al 2003). The judgements here are subtle. But compare: (61) What does Alex think? A: Alex believes [F that the company destroyed the FILE]. B: That’s false; the file has been submitted to the judge. B’: # It’s false; the file has been submitted to the judge. (62) A.Alex verified that the company destroyed the file. B.That’s false; the file has been submitted to the judge. B’.It’s false; the file has been submitted to the judge.

  36. Negation has a similar effect (Kamio and Thomas 1999) (63) A: Janice fired her secretary yesterday. B1: Yes. I’m aware of that. B2: Really. I wasn’t aware of that. B3. Yes. I’m aware of it. B4. *Really. I wasn’t aware of it. (Kamio and Thomas 1999)

  37. Speech acts – i.e. acts performed in uttering a sentence are never available to reference with it. This is as expected since speech acts performed by an utterance are not part of the semantic content or even inferable from it. Although the fact that a speech act has been performed is part of the contextual information and can be expected to be activated for the addressee immediately following its performance, the addressee’s focus of attention can be expected to be on the semantic content of the utterance used in the act, not on the act itself. • A, Yeah. I have a mutt myself. I call it as chowperd. It’s uh part chow and part shepherd and it ,as I understand it, uh both sides were thoroughbreds . So she’s a genuine chowperd. • B. Oh. That sounds interesting. (Switchboard Corpus). # Oh. It sounds interesting.

  38. (65) Thorne: So you fired her? Eric: We’re going to do a lot more than just fire her, Thorne: What does that mean?(“The Bold and the Beautiful”, Jan. 30, 2001, CBS)) # What does it mean? (66) A. John snores. B. That’s rude. B’. It’s rude. (67) A. I just ate three pieces of cake. B. Can you repeat that. B’. ? Can you repeat it.