Abstract

Narrative production experiments reveal systematic crosslinguistic differences in the preferred ratio of overt to possible argument NPs (called here the REFERENTIAL DENSITY value) between three pro-drop languages of the Himalayas (Belhare, Maithili, Nepali). These differences can be accounted for by the degree to which morphosyntactic features of NPs, especially case features, are relevant for syntactic processing. This degree is the higher the more there are pivots or controllers of syntactic rules (e.g. verb agreement) that are defined not only on the basis of a thematic role hierarchy but also by a case feature (as when, for example, verb agreement is blocked by quirky case on the thematically highest argument).

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 708-736
Launched on MUSE
2003-12-19
Open Access
No
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