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Colloquium: Amy Schafer: "Processing coreference: Evidence from Korean, English, and Japanese/Korean learners of English"

Friday, April 3, 2015
12:00 AM
3254 LSA Building

Processing coreference: Evidence from Korean, English, and Japanese/Korean learners of English

Our colloquium will be presented by Any Schafer from the University of Hawaii. The title and abstract of her presentation are given below.

Processing coreference: Evidence from Korean, English, and Japanese/Korean learners of English

Successful language comprehension depends on the correct determination of reference. In a discourse like Brenda was feeding Anne a bowl of soup. She… the interpretation of she is grammatically ambiguous, and reference to either Brenda or Anne is readily available. This makes it convenient a test case for the exploration of how speakers resolve reference more generally. Past research has demonstrated that reference resolution is sensitive to a wide array of influences (see Arnold, 2010 for a review), but little research has been done to examine how speakers of typologically different languages such as Korean and English compare and contrast in processing coreference, or in learning to do so in a second language. This talk will present a series of experiments examining referential processing by native speakers of English, native speakers of Korean, and Japanese- and Korean-speaking learners of English. Across the three groups, the results demonstrate both similarities and differences in the effects of linguistic factors such as contrastive intonation or whether the described event is ongoing (was feeding) or completed (fed). I will argue that processing factors such as memory access and expectations for upcoming material are critical to how native speakers and learners resolve reference, so that referential patterns depend not just on the linguistic contrasts but the timing of a series of related processing decisions.

Speaker: