New article by Lisa, Laia, and Xavier in Discourse Processes

Brunetti, Lisa, Laia Mayol y Xavier Villalba (2020): «Bridging strength, monotonicity, and word order choices in Catalan», Discourse Processes,

Bridging Strength, Monotonicity, and Word Order Choices in Catalan

Lisa Brunetti ORCID Icon,Laia MayolORCID Icon &Xavier VillalbaORCID Icon

Published online: 16 Jun 2020


Three experimental studies are presented testing the choice of a left or a right dislocation in Catalan, depending on the bridging relation between the dislocate and its antecedent. We make the hypothesis that the stronger the anaphoric link between the dislocate and its antecedent, the more appropriate a right dislocation is, whereas the opposite is true for left dislocation. The results of two acceptability judgment experiments partially support our hypothesis: Ratings with right dislocation decrease proportionally to the strength of the anaphoric link; however, it is ratings of canonical sentences (without dislocation at all), rather than of left dislocation, that display the opposite direction. For left dislocation, the picture is more complex and reflects the pragmatic function of this construction as a topic shifter or marker of contrast. A third experiment tests the monotonicity hypothesis, according to which a left dislocation is chosen when the anaphoric relation with the antecedent is either downward monotonic or nonmonotonic, whereas a right dislocation is preferred with an upward monotonic relation. The results partially support such a hypothesis but also further support the importance of taking the pragmatic function of left dislocation into account to explain its choice in discourse by speakers.


This work is partially supported by a public grant overseen by the French National Research Agency (ANR) as part of the program “Investissements d’Avenir” (reference: ANR-10-LABX-0083). It contributes to the IdEx Université de Paris - ANR-18-IDEX-0001 (Lisa Brunetti). It is also partially supported by the research project PGC2018-094029-A-I00 (Spanish State Research Agency [AEI] and the European Regional Development Fund [FEDER, UE]), awarded to the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Laia Mayol), the research project FFI2017-82547-P (Spanish Ministry of Economics, Industry and Competitivity), awarded to the Center of Linguistic Theory of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Lisa Brunetti and Xavier Villalba) and the grant 2017SGR634 (Catalonia’s Agency of University Grants and Reseach [AGAUR]), awarded to the Center of Linguistic Theory of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Xavier Villalba).

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