Demberg, Vera; Torabi Asr, Fatemeh; Rohde, Hannah

Discourse Expectations Raised by Contrastive Connectives

Conference on Discourse Expectations: Theoretical, Experimental, and Computational Perspectives (DETEC), 2015.

Markers of negative polarity discourse relations, such as but, although and on the one hand… on the other hand have been shown to induce more processing difficulty than additive or causal markers (e.g., Murray, 1995), and to facilitate the processing of upcoming content (e.g., Köhne & Demberg, 2013). These markers have been argued to shape comprehenders‘ discourse expectations in a way that differs from what comprehenders would expect in the absence of such markers (Murray, 1995; Köhne & Demberg, 2013; Xiang & Kuperberg, 2014). Here, we present two studies on the nature of the expectations elicited by negative polarity connectives, addressing three primary questions: (i) How specific are the expectations elicited by ambiguous connectors such as but and although? (ii) Do the discourse expectations raised by a connective like on the one hand target any contrast or specifically on the other hand? (iii) Are expectations sensitive to discourse structure?