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Quantifiers and the Focus of Anaphoric Reference: A cross-linguistic study
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This paper presents an acceptability judgment study on interpretation of anaphoric reference to preceding quantified expressions. Quantifiers are used to express information about quantities, and a number of psycholinguistic studies researched the differences in individual interpretation of such expressions. Moxey and Sanford (1987) have shown that quantifiers not only differ in the proportions they denote but also in the property of focus – they direct focus of anaphoric reference on different aspects of contextual situation, depending on the polarity of the quantifiers (positive vs. negative). The aim of this study was to investigate the focusing properties of four Serbian and four English quantifiers (two positive and two negative) in a comprehension process of acceptability judgments tasks. In line with the observation of Moxey and Sanford (1987), it was expected that the interpretations of negative quantifiers would differ from interpretations of positive quantifiers, as a result of different properties of focus. In Experiment 1 there were 32 native Serbian participants who read a series of quantified sentences and rated their acceptability. The results offered empiric evidence of different patterns of focus of anaphoric reference: for positive quantifiers, anaphoric reference could only be to the Reference set, while for negative quantifiers, it could be both to the Reference and Complement set. The study was then expanded to native Serbian speakers who are advanced users of English in Experiment 2, employing the same experimental design but in English. Notably, these speakers demonstrated patterns of focus of anaphoric reference similar to those in Experiment 1. The results showed that transfer from the native language, Serbian, might have played an important role in interpretation of quantified sentences by Serbian individuals who are advanced users of English.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 36
Keywords [en]
Focus of quantifiers, anaphora, acceptability judgments, English, Serbian
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-83170OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-83170DiVA, id: diva2:1317591
Subject / course
English
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-06-27 Created: 2019-05-23 Last updated: 2019-07-16Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf