Speakers balance their use of cues to grammatical functions in informative discourse contexts

Thomas Hörberg, Johan Sjons
2022 figshare.com  
Grammatical encoding has been suggested to be driven by communicative efficiency – a balance between production ease and communicative success. Evidence for this view comes from studies indicating that speakers balance their use of morphosyntactic cues to grammatical functions with respect to animacy. However, these studies have not taken cues in the discourse context into account. In a picture-description task, we investigate the influence of animacy on the morphosyntactic encoding of
more » ... al functions in Swedish transitive sentences. These sentences are produced in discourse contexts with additional information about grammatical functions. We find various morphosyntactic cues to grammatical functions (e.g. SVO word order and case marking) to more frequently be used when the object referent is animate. Speakers thus balance their use of cues to grammatical functions, even when the discourse context is informative about those functions. These findings provide direct evidence for the view that grammatical encoding is influenced by communicative efficiency.
doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.20517961.v1 fatcat:7lwgr7ebrzdpdgkjzfl3uqi37m