The interaction of contextual and syntactic information in the processing of Turkish anaphors
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Description: In contrast with languages where anaphors can be classified into pronouns and reflexives, Turkish has a tripartite system that consists of the anaphors "o", "kendi", and "kendisi". The syntactic literature on these anaphors has proposed that whereas "o" behaves like a pronoun and "kendi" behaves like a reflexive, "kendisi" has a more flexible behavior and it can function as both a pronoun and a reflexive. Using acceptability judgments and a self-paced reading task, we examined how Turkish anaphors are processed in isolated sentences and within larger discourse contexts. We manipulated contextual information by creating passages where the context favored a local, long-distance or extra-sentential referent prior to the appearance of the anaphor. We measured the effect of the context on participants' reading times and their end-of-trial coreference assignments. Our results suggest that contextual information affects the interpretive possibilities associated with an anaphor, but that the influence of context depends on the degree to which the anaphor is syntactically constrained.