Direct object resumption in Hebrew: How modality of presentation and relative clause position affect acceptability

Aya Meltzer-Asscher, Julie Fadlon, Kayla Goldstein, Ariel Holan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Hebrew is generally considered a language with grammaticized resumption, in which resumptive pronouns (RPs) and gaps alternate freely in direct object position. The current study investigates whether and how speakers' acceptability judgments of direct object RPs in Hebrew are affected by the position of the relative clause in the main clause and the modality in which the sentences are presented. A hundred and eight Hebrew speakers completed an acceptability rating survey which included sentences with relative clauses modifying the main clause subject, direct, or indirect object, with either a gap or a resumptive pronoun. Modality of presentation was visual for half of the participants, and auditory for the other half. Results show that Hebrew speakers consistently judge direct object resumptives as less natural than gaps, particularly when sentences are presented in written form. The position of the relative clause does not interact with the acceptability of the RP. We discuss how different processing considerations may have contributed to the pattern of results observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-79
Number of pages15
JournalLingua
Volume166
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2015

Keywords

  • Acceptability ratings
  • Auditory modality
  • Hebrew
  • Relative clauses
  • Resumption
  • Resumptive pronouns

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