Project: Set size and reference

In the project, we investigate by means of EEG how positive quantified expressions (e.g. "almost all" and "a few") are processed in connection to anaphoric reference.

The project was completed in December 2019.

Project information

Project manager
Fredrik Heinat
Other project members
Eva Klingvall, Lund University, Sweden
Participating organizations
Linnaeus University; Lund University, Sweden
Olle Engkvists stiftelse (Olle Engkvist's foundation)
1 jan 2019–31 dec 2019
Psycholinguistics, Linguistics, English, Swedish (Department of Languages, Faculty of Arts and Humanities)

More about the project

In this project, we investigate the role that set size plays in anaphoric reference to quantified expressions in Swedish. Quantifiers such as a few and almost all differ in how large proportions of a set they pick out. A few apples picks out a small proportion and almost all apples picks out a large proportion of the apples. We call the set, in this case the apples, they pick out the reference set.

We look at how the different sizes of the reference sets influence the processing of the quantified expression and an anaphoric reference made to it, as in the sentence: A few/almost all students went to the party and they enjoyed it.

The study comprises a large scale estimation study of the size of quantifying expressions, an offline semantic acceptability study, and an online ERP experiment.