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What's in a Narrative? Variation in Storytelling at the Interface Between Language and Literacy

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Edited By Christiane Bongartz and Jacopo Torregrossa

Research on narrative production plays a central role in linguistics, psycholinguistics and language acquisition. Narrative elicitation allows researchers to investigate specific linguistic structures and the processes involved in their acquisition in an ecological way. This book provides methodological remarks on how to approach research on narratives, identifying factors that underlie variation in narrative production, including the type of narrative task, cross-linguistic differences, learners’ literacy and cognitive development and the narrative practices in society. The volume features contributions on theoretical and methodological aspects of research on narratives from 16 researchers in linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics and developmental psychology.

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Despina Papadopoulou: Reference patterns in language comprehension & production: The “Greek case”

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Despina Papadopoulou

Reference patterns in language comprehension & production: The “Greek case”

Abstract: In this paper we analyze the referential patterns of referring expressions in subject position in L1 Greek. More specifically, the theoretical accounts as well as the studies that have explored the referential properties of referring expressions in Greek are discussed and compared with those attested in other null-subject languages such as Italian and Spanish. The paper focuses on the meta-analysis of the findings from previous studies and contrasts the referential patterns observed in written comprehension and production. It is highlighted that null and overt referring expressions in Greek exhibit divergent referential features: the former tend to refer to salient antecedents while the latter are preferably associated with non-salient referents. This finding is well corroborated in the literature, since it is confirmed by comprehension and production data and by experimental and corpus studies. Furthermore, null-subject pronominals in Greek display a more flexible referential behavior, compared to other null-subject languages like Italian and Spanish, in the sense that their anchoring with non-salient antecedents is not excluded. Coherence aspects, such as topicality and the right frontier constraint, have a significant impact on reference in language production, while these issues have not been thoroughly explored in language comprehension.

Keywords: reference, comprehension, production, intra-sentential and discourse pronoun resolution

1. Introduction

Reference is one of the most fundamental language functions, as it represents the symbolic relation between a referring expression and a possible...

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