Controlling the Intelligibility of Referring Expressions in Dialogue

Ellen Gurman Bard, Anne H Anderson, Catherine Sotillo, Matthew Aylett, Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon, Alison Newlands

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

If speakers articulate clearly enough to meet the perceptual needs of their listeners, clarity should depend on what listeners know about (listener-Given) rather than on what speakers know about (speaker-Given). For words excerpted from spontaneous speech, however, intelligibility to naive adult listeners showed only effects of the speaker's knowledge. Words introducing labeled map landmarks to two successive listeners were less clear on repetition even though the second listener had not heard the original mention (Experiment 1). Repeated mentions became less clear even after the listener reported inability to see the landmark (Experiment 2). Speakers were affected by what they had heard listeners mention: Intelligibility fell equally in coreferential repetitions across and within speakers (Experiment 3), whether or not the repeater could see the referent (Experiment 4). The results are explained via fast priming processes dependent on the speaker's knowledge and slow, optional processes drawing inferences about the listener's.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 22
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2000


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