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Article: Resumptive pronouns, structural complexity, and the elusive distinction between grammar and performance: evidence from Cantonese

TitleResumptive pronouns, structural complexity, and the elusive distinction between grammar and performance: evidence from Cantonese
Authors
Issue Date2015
Citation
Lingua, 2015, v. 162, p. 56-81 How to Cite?
AbstractThe use of resumptive pronouns in relative clauses appears to be governed by structural complexity in grammar and usage. Resumptive pronoun distributions across languages typically follow the Noun Phrase Accessibility Hierarchy (Keenan and Comrie, 1977): if the grammar allows resumptive pronouns in one position, it also allows them in more deeply embedded positions. Hawkins (2004) predicts a parallel effect in usage: when the grammar permits the option of either resumptive pronoun or gap, resumptive pronouns should be used more often as structural complexity increases. Results of two experiments, an elicited production task and an acceptability judgment task, affirm Hawkins’ prediction for Cantonese: resumptive pronouns were used more often and rated as more acceptable as the complexity of the relative clause increased from subject to direct object to coverb object and from non-possessive to possessive. Furthermore, resumptive pronoun use was apparently not governed by any categorical grammatical constraints on filler-gap dependencies. Resumptive pronouns were sometimes omitted in coverb object relatives, contrary to a proposed adjunct island condition. Implications for theories of grammatical competence are considered.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/224965

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorFrancis, EJ-
dc.contributor.authorLam, C-
dc.contributor.authorZheng, CC-
dc.contributor.authorHitz, J-
dc.contributor.authorMatthews, SJ-
dc.date.accessioned2016-04-18T03:34:49Z-
dc.date.available2016-04-18T03:34:49Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationLingua, 2015, v. 162, p. 56-81-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/224965-
dc.description.abstractThe use of resumptive pronouns in relative clauses appears to be governed by structural complexity in grammar and usage. Resumptive pronoun distributions across languages typically follow the Noun Phrase Accessibility Hierarchy (Keenan and Comrie, 1977): if the grammar allows resumptive pronouns in one position, it also allows them in more deeply embedded positions. Hawkins (2004) predicts a parallel effect in usage: when the grammar permits the option of either resumptive pronoun or gap, resumptive pronouns should be used more often as structural complexity increases. Results of two experiments, an elicited production task and an acceptability judgment task, affirm Hawkins’ prediction for Cantonese: resumptive pronouns were used more often and rated as more acceptable as the complexity of the relative clause increased from subject to direct object to coverb object and from non-possessive to possessive. Furthermore, resumptive pronoun use was apparently not governed by any categorical grammatical constraints on filler-gap dependencies. Resumptive pronouns were sometimes omitted in coverb object relatives, contrary to a proposed adjunct island condition. Implications for theories of grammatical competence are considered.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.relation.ispartofLingua-
dc.titleResumptive pronouns, structural complexity, and the elusive distinction between grammar and performance: evidence from Cantonese-
dc.typeArticle-
dc.identifier.emailMatthews, SJ: matthews@hkucc.hku.hk-
dc.identifier.authorityMatthews, SJ=rp01207-
dc.identifier.doi10.1016/j.lingua.2015.04.006-
dc.identifier.hkuros257425-
dc.identifier.volume162-
dc.identifier.spage56-
dc.identifier.epage81-

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