Monday, 16 December, 2019 - 14:00

No surprise here: On discourse expectations, underspecified coherence relations, and reduced referring expressions

Predictability has been found to influence language production at multiple levels of linguistic structure – e.g., phonetics, morphology, and syntax. In this talk, I will focus on the question of whether expected linguistic content is also expressed using reduced linguistic forms at the discourse level, focusing specifically on coherence relations and referring expressions. Coherence relations can be made linguistically explicit by means of connectives (e.g., butbecause) or cue phrases (e.g., on the other handwhich is why), but can also be left underspecified or implicit. Referents in a discourse can be referred to by means of a full NP, but also by means of a pronoun.  Discussing both corpus-based studies and experimental studies, I show that evidence for expectation influencing language production at the discourse level is mixed.


Jet Hoek is a linguist researching discourse-level phenomena from a cognitive perspective, with a specific focus on coherence relations and coreference. She obtained her PhD from Utrecht University in 2018 (advisors: Ted Sanders, Sandrine Zufferey, and Jacqueline Evers-Vermeul), after which she was a post-doc at the University of Edinburgh, working with Hannah Rohde. She is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Cologne, in the Prominence in Language SFB, C04 project "Referential and conceptual activation in discourse”.