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In a number of languages, children have problems with the interpretation of pronouns if a potential local antecedent is present. There is an intensive debate on whether this effect is due to a delayed acquisition of Principle B, or it is the result of pragmatic or processing difficulties that children face in interpretation tasks. We conducted two experiments involving a picture-sentence verification task to investigate whether the Pronoun Interpretation Problem exists in Hungarian child language. We found that the Problem is present if the test sentences are given in isolation, but it disappears if a minimally coherent discourse is created. We argue that our results support the view that the binding principles are innate and do not need to be acquired, but children have problems with computing coreference options in certain contexts (Reinhart 2004; 2006; 2011). Coherent discourse allows children to accommodate pronouns with close to adult-like success because in this case they do not calculate local coreference possibilities for pronouns.

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Editor(s)-in-Chief: Katalin É. Kiss,
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Acta Linguistica Hungarica
Language English
Size  
Year of
Foundation
1951
Publication
Programme
changed title
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per Year
 
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per Year
 
Founder Magyar Tudományos Akadémia
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Address
H-1051 Budapest, Hungary, Széchenyi István tér 9.
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ISSN 1216-8076 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2624 (Online)