Jeanette Gundel presented a talk “Underspecification of cognitive status in reference production: the grammar-pragmatics interface” at the Workshop on Bridging the Gap between Computational, Empirical, and Theoretical Approaches to Reference at the Annual Cognitive Science Meeting in Boston. The talk was about our work on the Givenness Hierarchy.
Within the Givenness Hierarchy (GH) framework of Gundel, Hedberg, & Zacharski (1993), referring expressions are assumed to conventionally encode two kinds of information: conceptual information about the speaker’s intended referent and procedural information about the assumed cognitive status of that referent in the mind of the addressee, the latter encoded by various determiners/pronouns. The current work focuses on effects of underspecification of cognitive status, showing that the GH and its predictions, interacting with independently motivated pragmatic/processing factors, makes possible a principled explanation of the distribution and interpretation of different referring forms in spontaneous discourse as well a number of recent experimental results in the psycholinguistic literature. (PDF)