Tourtouri, Elli; Sikos, Les; Crocker, Matthew W.

Referential Entropy influences Overspecification: Evidence from Production

31st Annual CUNY Sentence Processing Conference, UC Davis, Davis CA, USA, 2018.

Specificity in referential communication

  • Grice’s Maxim of Quantity [1]: Speakers should produce only informa9on that is strictly necessary for identifying the target
  • However, it is possible to establish reference with either minimally-specified (MS; precise) or over-specified (OS; redundant) expressions
  • Moreover, speakers overspecify frequently and systematically [e.g., 2-6]

Q: Why do people overspecificy?