The Role Of Perspective In Identifying Domains Of Reference

D. Heller
Daniel J. Grodner, Swarthmore College
M. K. Tanenhaus

Abstract

We used the contrastive expectation associated with scalar adjectives to examine whether listeners are sensitive to the distinction between common and privileged information during real-time reference resolution. Our results show that listeners used this distinction to narrow the set of potential referents to objects with contrasts in common ground from the earliest moments. These results extend previous evidence that ground information influences real-time language processing by showing that the distinction between common and privileged information is used without being triggered by unusual circumstances.