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ESSLLI 2004

Susceptibility to discourse/semantic factors: An experimental approach to short-distance pronouns and logophoric reflexives
Elsi Kaiser, Jeffrey T. Runner, Rachel S. Sussman & Michael K. Tanenhaus University of Rochester ekaiser@ling.rochester.edu Workshop on Semantic Approaches to Binding Theory ESSLLI, Nancy, August 2004 1. Introduction

We present two experiments testing (i) the idea that source-of-information referents can antecede BT-incompatible reflexives in picture-NPs (Kuno 1987), and (ii) the observation that perceiver-ofinformation referents can antecede BT-incompatible pronouns (see Tenny 2003). The results show that discourse/semantic factors interact with BT, but affect pronouns with local antecedents more than reflexives with non-local antecedents.

Structure of talk 1. Introduction 1.1 Basics of Binding Theory 1.2 Where standard Binding Theory runs into trouble 1.3 Focus of this talk: Picture-NPs 2. Experiment 1: Picture-choosing task 2.1 Predictions 2.2 Results 3. Experiment 2: Picture verification 3.1 Predictions 3.2 Results 3.3 Discussion of Experiments 1 and 2 4. Experiment 3: Eyetracking data (preliminary) 5. Conclusions

1.1 Basics of Binding Theory (1) a. b. c. d. Juliusi saw him*i/j. Juliusi saw himselfi/*j. Juliusi saw a picture of him*i/j. Juliusi saw a picture of himselfi/*j. Pronominal and reflexive noun phrases in English have a nearly complementary distribution.

Kaiser, Runner, Sussman & Tanenhaus Binding theory (BT): structural account of this complementarity (e.g. Chomsky 1981, 1986): A. An anaphor is bound in a local domain. B. A pronoun is free in a local domain. C. An R-expression is free.

Binding: A binds B iff A c-commands B, and A and B are coindexed. C-command: A node A c-commands a node B iff the first branching node dominating A also dominates B, and A does not dominate B. (2) a. [Juliusi brother]j saw himselfj/*i. b. [Juliusi brother]j saw himi/*j.

1.2 Where traditional Binding Theory runs into trouble Unexpected reflexives: (3) a. Bismarcks impulsiveness has, as so often, rebounded against himself (him). (quoted in Zribi-Hertz 1989) b. Warren says its a good time to be an astrophysicist. Fifteen years ago, we were starved for observations, he says. Now its the opposite: Theorists like himself (him) are drowning in data from modern telescopes. (from The New Mexican newspaper in Santa Fe, NM, 6/28/04) c. It was a quiet time for visitors at the house, and there were only four others staying apart from myself (me). (www.dkfoundation.co.uk/FriendsFoundationChaliceWell.htm) Unexpected pronouns: (4) a. Poor John. Now he's got an ambitious little snake next to him (himself). (www.freerepublic.com/~regulator/in-forum) b. Except he could not throw the ball because he was getting tackled. He was about to hit the ground. He had to do something else. He saw someone behind him (himself). He flipped the ball in desperation. (www.wildbillschiefs.com/news/data/604.txt)

In these contexts, what guides the choice of one form over the other? The interpretation and acceptability of pronouns and reflexives can be modulated by pragmatic/semantic and discourse factors (e.g. Cantrall 1974, Kuno 1987, ZribiHertz 1989, Pollard & Sag 1992, Reinhart & Reuland 1993, Tenny 1996, Tenny 2003).

ESSLLI 2004

1.3 Focus of this talk: Picture-NPs Juliannai saw a picture of heri/herselfi. Juliusi heard a story about himi/himselfi.

[representational NPs]

A well-known case showing clear discourse/semantic effects for both pronouns and reflexives (e.g. Kuno 1987, Pollard & Sag 1992, Reinhart & Reuland 1993, Keller & Asudeh 2001, Tenny 2003).

a. Reflexives: o No purely structural theory of binding1 can capture the fact that the antecedent of a reflexive can occur in another sentence, yet (5a) is acceptable. Various pragmatic factors have a strong effect on the acceptability of this reflexive (compare to 5b). Logophors (5) [examples from Pollard & Sag 1992] a. Johni was going to get even with Mary. [That picture of himi/himselfi] in the paper would really annoy her, as would the other stunts he had planned. b. Mary was quite taken aback by the publicity Johni was receiving. [That picture of himi/*himselfi] in the paper would really annoy her, as would the other stunts he had planned. Kuno (1987): Factors like point of view, awareness and semantic roles influence whether a given entity can act as the antecedent for a logophoric reflexive (see also Pollard & Sag 1992, Reinhart & Reuland 1993, many others). Source: the one who is the intentional agent of the communication. (Sells 1987) o BT-violating reflexive can refer to sources

(5) c. John heard from Mary about a damaging rumor about ?herself/(?)her (that was going around). (Kuno 1987:175) b. Pronouns: o The pronouns in (6a,c) (examples based on Reinhart & Reuland 1993) should not be grammatical since they are c-commanded by a local antecedent. (6) a. Luciei saw the picture of heri. c. Maxi heard the story about himi. b.* Luciei took the picture of heri. d. * Maxi told the story about himi.

Tenny (2003): Calls these kinds of pronouns short-distance pronouns (SDPs) and notes that verbs that provide a sentient, perceiving antecedent are especially conducive to SDPs. .SDPs in representational contexts [..] are especially felicitous with perceiving subjects (Tenny 2003).

Unless it takes into account discourse/pragmatic factors, but then it is no longer a purely structural approach.

Kaiser, Runner, Sussman & Tanenhaus

Experiments: - manipulate structural and pragmatic/semantic variables - collect a set of data from a large group of speakers - incremental, real-time information about interpretation In this talk, we present two psycholinguistic experiments that investigate the claims that (a) A referent which is a source of information (e.g. John in John told Bill about and Bill heard from John) can act as the antecedent for a BT-violating reflexive [Kuno] (b) Perceiving antecedents (e.g. Bill in John told Bill and Bill heard from John) are good antecedents for SDPs [Tenny]. In some sense, these claims are two sides of the same coin, since verbs like tell/hear involve both a source-of-information and a perceiver-of-information. Will BT-violating pronouns and reflexives have a complementary distribution? 2. Experiment 1: Picture-choosing task Participants listened to sentences like (7) while looking at scenes containing the two mentioned referents as well as a picture of each referent Task: Choose the picture that is mentioned in the sentence; if not sure which one to choose, just to go with gut instinct/first guess. Factors: verb type (told/heard) and anaphoric form (himself/him), 4 conditions Half of items contained two male referents and half contained two female referents. 24 participants, 20 critical items.

(7) Peter {told/heard from} Andrew about the picture of {him/himself} on the wall.

ESSLLI 2004 2.1 Predictions

Binding theory
A reflexive is bound by a local c-commanding antecedent (i) Peter told Andrew about the picture of himself on the wall. (ii) Peter heard from Andrew about the picture of himself on the wall. A pronoun is free, i.e. not c-commanded by its local antecedent (i) Peter told Andrew about the picture of him on the wall. (ii) Peter heard from Andrew about the picture of him on the wall. [I will say more about the direction object/object of prepositional phrase difference later.]2 BT alone predicts that differences in verb semantics dont lead to differences in binding patterns.

Predictions for reflexives, based on Kuno and other discourse/semantic approaches:


(i) Peter told Andrew about the picture of himself on the wall. {source} {subject} (ii) Peter heard from Andrew about the picture of himself on the wall. {subject} {source} Source-of-information influences whether a given entity can act as the antecedent for a logophoric reflexive we predict that we should see more non-subject/logophoric responses with heard than with told.

Predictions for pronouns, based on Tenny:


(iii) Peter told Andrew about the picture of him on the wall. {perceiver} {non-subject} (iv) Peter heard from Andrew about the picture of him on the wall. {perceiver} {non-subject} Perceiving subjects are good antecedents for SDPs we predict that there will be more subject responses with heard than with told

The prediction charts on the next page also oversimplify with respect to the c-command question. In order to make the predicted changes easier to represent, the graphs are drawn as if the object never c-commands the picture-NP. We will return to this issue in Section 3.3, but I put it aside here for reasons that will become clear once we look at the results.

Kaiser, Runner, Sussman & Tanenhaus

Note: All numbers in these prediction charts are of course entirely hypothetical!

Binding Theory predictions: Antecedent ofBinding reflexive theory a. Predictions of


100 80 60 40 20 0

Antecedent of reflexive

Kuno-type predictions: Antecedent predictions of reflexive b. Kuno-type

100 80 60 40 20 0
subject
object

subject=source

object=source

subject=source

object=source

Antecedent of pronoun
Binding Theory predictions: Antecedent of c. Predictions of Binding theory pronoun
100 80 60 40 20 0 subject=perceiver object=perceiver dir. object=perceiver (and c-commands)

subject object

Tenny-type predictions: Antecedent of pronoun d. Tenny-type predictions


100 80 60 40 20 0

subject=perceiver

object=perceiver

ESSLLI 2004 2.2 Results and discussion

What referent was chosen as the antecedent of the pronoun or the reflexive?
referent chosen as antecedent (percentage)

100 80 60 40 20 0
told/reflex heard from/reflex told/pro heard from/pro

subject object

Reflexive conditions: Overall preference to interpret the reflexive as referring to the subject: (i) told: 93% (ii) heard condition: 86% A slight [but not significant] numerical effect of the verb manipulation in the direction predicted by Kunos claims (7% with heard, vs. 14% with told) People do sometimes interpret the reflexive in the picture NP in a BT-incompatible way, as referring to the object of heard (the source-of-information).

Pronoun conditions: BT predicts that in both conditions, the pronoun should refer to the object. In light of Tennys work, we predict that we should see subject interpretations in the heard condition, where the subject is the perceiver-of-information. A significant effect of the verb manipulation (p<0.05) o More subject interpretations in the heard condition (58%) than in the told condition (32%) an effect of perceiving for pronouns. People are significantly more likely to interpret the pronoun in the picture NP as a BTexempt pronoun3 referring to the subject when the subject is the perceiver than when the subject is not the perceiver.

Note that Tenny (2003) proposes point-of-view/sentience-based binding domains and argues that pronouns must be free in their local point-of-view domains. Our use of the term BT-exempt in this paper refers to being exempt from the requirements of standard BT, which predicts examples like those in (6) to be ungrammatical.

Kaiser, Runner, Sussman & Tanenhaus

Pronoun-reflexive asymmetry: The verb manipulation affects pronouns with local antecedents more than reflexives with non-local antecedents, i.e. pronouns seem to be more sensitive to this kind of information than reflexives. These results are consistent with the results of psycholinguistic eyetracking research (Runner, Sussman & Tanenhaus 2003) testing a simple discourse manipulation which had a much greater effect on pronouns than on reflexives. 3. Experiment 2: Picture verification Remove a design trait that may have biased participants in Experiment 1 to abide by BT principles and to ignore discourse/semantic factors: o The visual scene always included a BT-compatible picture choice, participants were always forced to choose between a BT-compatible choice and a non-BT compatible choice. o So, although we can see in Experiment 1 how often a choice x wins out over a choice y, we cannot tell how often/to what degree the losing choice y is actually considered by the participant Exp. 2: Same kinds of sentences as Exp 1, but instead of being shown a scene with two pictures and having to select one of the pictures, participants saw a scene consisting of the two mentioned referents and a picture of one of the referents. Task: Does the sentence match the scene? [yes/no] By crossing verb type (told/heard), anaphoric form (himself/him), and visual scene (picture of subject/picture of object), eight conditions were created. 24 participants, 32 critical items.

[told-ref-S] Peter told Andrew about the picture of himself on the wall. [w/ picture of subject, Peter] [told-ref-O] Peter told Andrew about the picture of himself on the wall. [w/ picture of object, Andrew] [told-pro-S] / [told-pro-O] [heard-ref-S] / [heard-ref-O] [heard-pro-S] / [heard-pro-O] (7) Peter {told/heard from} Andrew about the picture of {him/himself} on the wall.

ESSLLI 2004 3.1 Predictions

Reflexives (based on Kuno): Participants will be more likely to accept non-BT compatible responses (scenes where the picture portrays the character who is in object position) in the heard condition than in the told condition, since the object is the source-of-information in the heard condition. Pronouns (based on Tenny): Participants will be more likely to accept non-BT compatible responses (scenes where the picture portrays the subject) in the heard condition than in the told condition, since the subject is the perceiver-of-information in the heard condition. 3.2 Results Reflexives:

Percentage of yes and no answers: Reflexives


100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 told-ref-S heard-ref-S told-ref-O heard-ref-O

yes % no %

Still a general preference to interpret the reflexive as referring to the subject o More yes answers in the [told-ref-S] condition and the [heard-ref-S] condition than in the [told-ref-O] and [heard-ref-O] conditions But, when the visual scene supports a non-BT compatible interpretation (i.e. [told-ref-O] and [heard-ref-O]), the verb manipulation influences participants responses: o More non-BT compatible answers (yes answers) in the heard from condition (37.5%) than in the told condition (27%). Overall, for the reflexive conditions, there is a marginal effect of verb type (p=0.06). o The finding that the verb manipulation has a stronger effect on the reflexives in Exp. 2 suggests that the absence of a large effect in the first experiment may have been due to the picture choices available in the visual scene.

10 Pronouns:

Kaiser, Runner, Sussman & Tanenhaus

Percentage of yes and no answers: Pronouns


100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 told-pro-S heard-pro-S told-pro-O heard-pro-O

yes % no %

A strong effect of the verb manipulation (p<0.01) When presented with a picture of the subject, participants are more likely to accept a nonBT compatible interpretation of the pronoun in the heard condition (55%, heard-pro-S) than in the told condition (30%, told-pro-S).

pronouns perceiver reflexives source But there is also a clear difference in the strength of the effects: Pronouns are more sensitive to this kind of information than reflexives 3.3 Discussion of Experiments 1 and 2 Pronouns: Strongly influenced by verb type; SDPs occur more often when the antecedent is the perceiver of information. Reflexives: Source-of-information antecedents triggered somewhat more logophoric readings than non-source antecedents. Potential alternative account: Difference between direct objects and objects of PPs? o If direct object c-commands the picture-NP, then himself should be better than him for referring to the object: (i) Peter told Andrewi about the picture of himselfi/*himi on the wall. But here the object is the perceiver and thus a good antecedent for him o The object of PP cannot c-command the picture-NP, and thus himself should never be able to it: (ii) Peter heard from Andrewi about the picture of *himselfi/himi on the wall. But here the object is the source and thus a possible antecedent for himself o Ultimately, it is not the structure that seems to make the difference, but rather the discourse/semantic role

Verbs have an effect!

ESSLLI 2004

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Studying reference to less preferred antecedents o Need to avoid forced-choice tasks o Forced-choice set-up: how often a choice x wins out over a choice y Doesnt tell us about how often/to what degree the losing choice y is considered (e.g. Is it never considered, or is it a close competitor and only loses out narrowly in the end?) Experiment 2 avoids this problem Pronoun-reflexive asymmetry o The results suggest that pronouns and reflexives differ in their sensitivity to the verb manipulation, i.e. pronouns are influenced more by the perceiver-of-information status of a potential antecedent than reflexives are by the source-of-information status of a potential antecedent. o Pronouns are more susceptible to discourse/semantic factors that reflexives? This fits with the fact that pronouns can be used as discourse anaphors in free / non-bound positions (e.g. He saw a picture on the wall) in which their interpretation is guided by discourse constraints. o Constraints are ranked/weighted differently for different forms? This idea relates to reference resolution more generally Kaiser (2003): Different referential forms are sensitive to different kinds of factors Usual view: The salience/accessibility of the antecedent is what matters o The most reduced referring expressions refer to highly accessible referents; less reduced forms are used for less accessible referents (e.g. Ariel 1990, Givn 1983, Gundel, Hedberg & Zacharski 1993). But evidence from Dutch, Finnish and Estonian indicates that different referential forms within one language can be sensitive to different factors (Kaiser 2003, Kaiser in press, Kaiser & Trueswell to appear a,b), including o grammatical role of the antecedent o discourse status of the antecedent o whether the antecedent is contrastive

4. Experiment 3: Eyetracking [preliminary data!!!] o Current work: To gain a better understanding of the incremental, real-time processing of pronouns and reflexives in picture-NPs, we are conducting eyetracking experiments o Light-weight headmounted eyetracker with two cameras: i. an infrared camera tracks the image of the pupil and the corneal reflection to determine the position of the eye ii. another camera records the visual scene in front of the participant o Digital video output showing a crosshair where the participant was looking. Video tape is analyzed to see how location of participants gaze changes over time

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Kaiser, Runner, Sussman & Tanenhaus

o Participants see scenes displayed in a computer monitor, hear sentences like those used in Experiments 1 and 2 (but more varied verbs). o Task: Click on the picture that is mentioned in the sentence.

Peter {told/heard from} Andrew about the picture of {him/himself} on the wall.

Subject-picture advantage for pronouns (still preliminary data) o For pronouns, how much greater is the proportion of looks to the picture of the subject than the proportion of looks to the picture of the object? o It looks like hear-type verbs prompt more looks to the picture of the subject than telltype verbs Subject-picture advantage for pronouns
.25

.2

onset of pronoun

.15

.1 h t .05

Heard-type verbs Told-type verbs

-.05

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

-.1

Time in frames (30 frames =1 second)

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5. Conclusions Two experiments tested (i) the claim, related to Kunos work, that reflexives can be BT-exempt when the antecedent is the source-of-information (ii) the converse claim, related to Tennys work, that pronouns can be exempt from standard BT when the antecedent is the perceiver-of-information. Our results show that the effects are stronger for pronouns than reflexives: Pronouns: Strongly influenced by verb type (told/heard), and BT-violating SDPs occur more often when the antecedent is the perceiver of information. Reflexives: Source-of-information antecedents triggered somewhat more logophoric readings than non-source antecedents. Constraints are ranked/weighted differently for different forms? Directions for future work: These experiments form part of a larger project investigating the contributions of syntactic, pragmatic and semantic information to the interpretation of pronouns and reflexives in English (see e.g. Runner, Sussman & Tanenhaus 2002, 2003, to appear), with plans to extend the research into other languages Possessed picture NPs: These are regarded as crucially different from regular possessor-less picture-NPs; possessed picture NPs are assumed to be subject to regular BT, such that a reflexive must be bound by the possessor, and a pronoun by some referent other than the possessor: (8) Reinhart & Reuland (1993) a. Luciei liked a picture of herselfi. b. */? Luciei liked your picture of herselfi. However, as Reinhart & Reuland note, This is the place to note that the judgments on NP anaphora are much less clear than the linguistic literature tends to assume. Ben-Shalom and Weijler (1990) report that in their informal empirical testing of judgments, speakers did not agree even on the basic facts, for example, that a contrast exists in [(8)]. (Reinhart & Reuland 1993:683). A fruitful area for investigation with experimental approaches

References Ariel, M. 1990. Accessing NP antecedents. London: Routledge, Croom Helm. Cantrall, William R. (1974) Viewpoint, Reflexives, and the Nature of Noun Phrases. The Hague: Mouton. Chomsky, N. (1981). Lectures on Government and Binding. Foris. Dordrecht. Chomsky, N. (1986). Barriers. MIT Press. Cambridge, Mass. Givn, T. 1983. Topic continuity in discourse: A quantitative cross-language study. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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Gundel, J.K., Hedberg, N. & Zacharski, R. 1993. Cognitive status and the form of referring expressions in discourse. Language 69:274-307. Kaiser, E. 2003. The quest for a referent: A crosslinguistic look at referent resolution. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania. Kaiser, E. to appear. When salience isnt enough: Pronouns, demonstratives and the quest for an antecedent. To appear in R. Laury (ed.), Minimal reference in Finnic: The use and interpretation of pronouns and zero in Finnish and Estonian discourse. Helsinki, Finland: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura. Kaiser, Elsi & John C. Trueswell (to appear, a) Investigating the interpretation of pronouns and demonstratives in Finnish: Going beyond salience. To appear in E. Gibson & N. Pearlmutter (eds), The processing and acquisition of reference. Kaiser, E & Trueswell, J. (to appear, b). The referential properties of Dutch pronouns and demonstratives: Is salience enough? In M. Weisgerber (ed.) Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 8. University of Konstanz linguistics working papers. Keller, F. & Asudeh, A. 2001. Constraints on linguistic coreference: Structural vs. pragmatic factors. Proc 23rd Conf. of the Cog Sci Soc, 483-488. Kuno, S. 1987. Functional Syntax: Anaphora, discourse & empathy. Chicago. Pollard, C. & Sag, I. 1992. Anaphors in English and the scope of Binding Theory. Linguistic Inquiry 23:261-303. Reinhart, T. & Reuland, E. 1993. Reflexivity. Linguistic Inquiry 24:657-720. Runner, Jeffrey T., Rachel S. Sussman & Michael K. Tanenhaus (to appear). The Influence of Binding Theory on the On-Line Reference Resolution of Pronouns, in Proceedings of North Eastern Linguistic Society 34. Runner, J., R. Sussman & M. Tanenhaus. 2003. Assignment of reference to reflexives and pronouns in picture noun phrases: evidence from eye movements. Cognition 89(1):B1-B13. Runner, Jeffrey T., Rachel S. Sussman and Michael K. Tanenhaus (2002). Logophors in Possessed Picture Noun Phrases. In L. Mikkelsen and C. Potts, eds., WCCFL 21 Proceedings, pp. 401414. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press. Sells, P. (1987). Aspects of Logophoricity. Linguistic Inquiry 18 (3):445-479. Tenny, C. 1996. Short distance pronouns and locational deixis. LinguistList on-line conference. Tenny, C. 2003. Short distance pronouns, argument structure, and the grammar of sentience. Ms., 2003.
Zribi-Hertz, A. 1989. Anaphor Binding and Narrative Point of View English Reflexive Pronouns in Sentence and Discourse. Language 65(4): 695-727.