Remember Me
Or use your Academic/Social account:


Or use your Academic/Social account:


You have just completed your registration at OpenAire.

Before you can login to the site, you will need to activate your account. An e-mail will be sent to you with the proper instructions.


Please note that this site is currently undergoing Beta testing.
Any new content you create is not guaranteed to be present to the final version of the site upon release.

Thank you for your patience,
OpenAire Dev Team.

Close This Message


Verify Password:
Verify E-mail:
*All Fields Are Required.
Please Verify You Are Human:
fbtwitterlinkedinvimeoflicker grey 14rssslideshare1
Davies, CN; Katsos, N (2016)
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
Languages: English
Types: Part of book or chapter of book
Overspecification in reference is the provision of more information than is minimally required for a hearer to identify an intended referent, e.g. ‘the stripy bowl’ in the context of a single bowl. Since this kind of referring expression is not predicted by traditional accounts of reference, this chapter reviews research documenting the frequency of such expressions in various contexts. Drawing together recent empirical findings, it proposes reasons for overspecified reference from both the speaker’s and the addressee’s perspective. The pragmatic, cognitive and social significance of overspecification is discussed, and applications of research in this area are considered. We close by suggesting promising future directions for this strand of research.
  • The results below are discovered through our pilot algorithms. Let us know how we are doing!

    • Ariel, Mira. 1990. Accessing noun-phrase antecedents. London: Routledge.
    • Arnold, Jennifer E. 1998. Reference form and discourse patterns. Stanford: Stanford University dissertation.
    • Arnold, Jennifer E. & Zenzi Griffin. 2007. The effect of additional characters on choice of referring expression: Everyone counts. Journal of Memory and Language 56. 521-536.
    • Arnold, Jennifer E. 2008. Reference production: production internal and addressee-oriented processes. Language and Cognitive Processes 23(4). 495-527.
    • Arts, Anja. 2004. Overspecification in Instructive Texts. Tilburg University dissertation.
    • Arts, Anja, Alfons Maes, Leo Noordman & Carel Jansen. 2004. Reference management in instructive discourse. Discourse Processes 37(2). 117-144.
    • Arts, Anja, Alfons Maes, Leo Noordman & Carel Jansen. 2011. Overspecification facilitates object identification. Journal of Pragmatics 43(1). 361-374.
    • Bannard, Colin, Jörn Klinger & Michael Tomasello. 2013. How Selective are 3-year-olds in Imitating Novel Linguistic Material? Developmental Psychology, 49(12) 2344-64.
    • Barr, Dale J. 2007. Audience design and automatic processing in reference generation. Poster presented at Architectures and Mechanisms of Language Processing (AMLaP), Turku, August, 2007.
    • Bates, Elizabeth, Luigia Camaioni & Virginia Volterra. 1975. The acquisition of performatives prior to speech. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly 21. 205-226.
    • Butler, Lindsay K., T. Florian Jaeger, Juergen Bohnemeyer & Katrina Furth. 2011. Learning to Express Visual Contrasts in the Production of Referring Expressions in Yucatec Maya. Proceedings of the PRE-CogSci 2011 workshop: Bridging the gap between computational, empirical and theoretical approaches to reference, Boston, July 20th.
    • Carbary, Kathleen M. & Michael Tanenhaus. 2008. Syntactic priming and message encoding in unscripted dialogue. Paper presented at Architectures and Mechanisms of Language Processing (AMLaP), Cambridge, September 2008.
    • Carpenter, M., Nagell, K. & Tomasello, M. 1998b. Social cognition, joint attention, and communicative competence from 9 to 15 months of age. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 63. 176.
    • Clark, Herbert H. & Deanna Wilkes-Gibbs. 1986. Referring as a collaborative process. Cognition 22. 1-39.
    • Dale, Robert. 1992. Generating Referring Expressions: Constructing Descriptions in a Domain of Objects and Processes. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    • Dale, Robert & Ehud Reiter. 1995. Computational interpretations of the Gricean maxims in the generation of referring expressions. Cognitive Science 19. 233-263.
    • Davies, Catherine & Napoleon Katsos. 2009. Are Interlocutors as Sensitive to Overinformativeness as they are to Under-informativeness? In Kees Van Deemter, Albert Gatt, Roger PG van Gompel & Emiel Krahme (eds.), Proceedings of the Workshop on the Production of Referring Expressions: Bridging the gap between computational and empirical approaches to reference (PRE-CogSci 2009), Amsterdam, 29 July 2009.
    • Davies, Catherine & Napoleon Katsos. 2010. Over-informative children: Production/ comprehension asymmetry or tolerance to pragmatic violations? Lingua 120(8). 1956-1972.
    • Davies, Catherine & Napoleon Katsos. 2013. Are speakers and listeners 'only moderately Gricean'? An empirical response to Engelhardt, Bailey and Ferreira (2006). Journal of Pragmatics 49. 78-106.
    • Deutsch, Werner. 1976. Sprachliche Redundanz und Obektidentifikation. Marburg dissertation.
    • Deutsch, Werner & Thomas Pechmann. 1982. Social-interaction and the development of definite descriptions. Cognition 11(2). 159-184.
    • Dickson, W. Patrick. 1982. Two decades of referential communication research: A review and meta-analysis. In Charles J. Brainerd & Michael Presley (eds.), Verbal Processes in Children, 1-33. New York: Springer Verlag.
    • Engelhardt, Paul E., Karl GD Bailey & Fernanda Ferreira. 2006. Do speakers and listeners observe the Gricean Maxim of Quantity? Journal of Memory and Language 54(4). 554-573.
    • Engelhardt, Paul E., S. Demiral & Fernanda Ferreira. 2011. Over-specified referring expressions impair comprehension: An ERP study. Brain and cognition 77(2). 304-314.
    • Ferreira, Victor S., L. Robert Slevc & Erin S. Rogers. 2005. How do speakers avoid ambiguous linguistic expressions?. Cognition 96(3). 263-284.
    • Flavell, John H., James Ramsey Speer, Frances L. Green, Diane L. August & Grover J. Whitehurs. 1981. The development of comprehension monitoring and knowledge about communication. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development. 1-65.
    • Franco, Fabia & George Butterworth. 1996. Pointing and social awareness: Declaring and requesting in the second year. Journal of Child Language 23. 307-336.
    • Freedle, Roy. 1972. Language users as fallible information-processors: Implications for measuring and modelling comprehension. In Roy Freedle & Joy Carroll (eds.), Language comprehension and the acquisition of knowledge 169-209. Washington DC: Winston.
    • Gatt, Albert & Anja Belz. 2008. Attribute selection for referring expression generation: New algorithms and evaluation methods. Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Natural Language Generation, INLG-08.
    • Gatt, Albert, Ielka Van Der Sluis & Kees Van Deemter. 2007. Evaluating algorithms for the generation of referring expressions using a balanced corpus. Proceedings of the 11th European Workshop on Natural Language Generation, ENLG-07.
    • Givón, Talmy. 1983. Topic Continuity in Discourse: An Introduction. In Talmy Givón (ed.), Topic Continuity in Discourse: A Quantitative Cross-language Study, 1-42. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.
    • Grice, H. Paul. 1975. Logic and conversation. In Peter Cole & Jerry Morgan (eds.), Syntax and semantics, Vol. 3: Speech Acts, 41-58. New York: Academic Press.
    • Grodner, Daniel & Julie Sedivy. 2011. The effects of speaker-specific information on pragmatic inferences. In Neal Pearlmutter & Edward Gibson (eds.), The Processing and Acquisition of Reference. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    • Gundel, Jeanette K., Nancy Hedberg & Ron Zacharski. 1993. Cognitive status and the form of referring expressions in discourse. Language 69(2). 274-307.
    • Hanna, Joy E., Michael K. Tanenhaus & John C. Trueswell. 2003. The effects of common ground and perspective on domains of referential interpretation. Journal of Memory and Language 49(1). 43-61.
    • Huang, Yi Ting & Jesse Snedeke. 2008. Use of referential context in children's language processing. Proceedings of the 30th annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Washington, DC. 1381-1385.
    • Katsos, Napoleon. 2011. Experimental Investigations and Pragmatic Theorising. In Keith Allan & Kasia Jaszczolt (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics, 275-290. Cambridge University Press.
    • Katsos, Napoleon & Chris Cummins. 2010. Pragmatics: From Theory to Experiment and Back Again. Language and Linguistics Compass 4(5). 282-295.
    • Keysar, Boaz, Dale J. Barr & William S. Horton. 1998. The egocentric basis of language use: Insights from a processing approach. Current Directions in Psychological Science 7(2). 46- 50.
    • Keysar, Boaz, Dale J. Barr, Jennifer A. Balin & Jason S. Brauner. 2000. Taking perspective in conversation: The role of mutual knowledge in comprehension. Psychological Science 11(1). 32-38.
    • Keysar, Boaz, Shuhong Lin & Dale J. Barr. 2003. Limits on theory of mind use in adults. Cognition 89(1). 25-41.
    • Koolen, Ruud, Albert Gatt, Martijn Goudbeek & Emiel Krahmer. 2011. Factors causing overspecification in definite descriptions. Journal of Pragmatics 43(13), 3231-3250.
    • Levelt, Willem. 1989. Speaking. London: The MIT Press.
    • Liszkowski, Ulf, Malinda Carpenter, Anne Henning, Tricia Striano & Michael Tomasello. 2004. Twelve-month-olds point to share attention and interest. Developmental Science 7. 297-307.
    • Liszkowski, Ulf, Malinda Carpenter & Michael Tomasello. 2007a. Pointing out new news, old news, and absent referents at 12 months. Developmental Science 10(2). F1-F7.
    • Liszkowski, Ulf, Malinda Carpenter & Michael Tomasello. 2007b. Reference and attitude in infant pointing. Journal of Child Language 34(1). 1-20.
    • Lloyd, Peter, Sandi Mann & Ian Peers. 1998. The growth of speaker and listener skills from five to eleven years: a normative study. First Language 18(1). 81-103.
    • Mangold, Ronald & Rupert Pobel. 1988. Informativeness and instrumentality in referential communication. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 7. 181-191.
    • Matthews, Danielle, Elena Lieven, & Michael Tomasello. 2007. How toddlers and preschoolers learn to uniquely identify referents for others: A training study. Child Development 78. 1744- 1759.
    • Matthews, Danielle, Elena Lieven, Anna Theakston & Michael Tomasello. 2006. The effect of perceptual availability and prior discourse on young children's use of referring expressions. Applied Psycholinguistics 27. 403-422.
    • Metzing, Charles & Susan E. Brennan. 2003. When conceptual pacts are broken: Partner-specific effects on the comprehension of referring expressions. Journal of Memory and Language 49. 201-213.
    • Morisseau, Tiffany, Catherine Davies & Danielle Matthews. In press. How do 3- and 5-year-olds respond to over- and under-informative utterances?. Journal of Pragmatics 59. 26-39.
    • Nadig, Aparna S. & Julie C. Sedivy. 2002. Evidence of perspective-taking constraints in children's on-line reference resolution. Psychological Science 13(4). 329-336.
    • Nilsen, Elizabeth S. & Susan A. Graham. 2012. The development of preschoolers' appreciation of communicative ambiguity. Child Development 83(4). 1400-1415.
    • Noveck, Ira A. & Anne Rebou. 2008. Experimental Pragmatics: A Gricean turn in the study of language. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 12(11). 425-431.
    • Noveck, Ira A. & Dan Sperber. 2004. Experimental Pragmatics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
    • Paraboni, Ivandré, Kees Van Deemter & Judith Masthoff. 2007. Generating referring expressions: Making referents easy to identify. Computational Linguistic 33(2). 229-254.
    • Pechmann, Thomas. 1984. Accentuation and Redundancy in Children and Adult's Referential Communication'. In Herman Bouma, & Don G. Bouwhuis (eds.), Attention and Performance X: Control of Language Processes. NJ: Erlbaum.
    • Pechmann, Thomas. 1989. Incremental Speech Production and Referential Overspecification. Linguistics 27(1). 89-110.
    • Revelle, Glenda L., Henry M. Wellman & Julie D. Karabenick. 1985. Comprehension monitoring in preschool children. Child Development 56. 654-663.
    • Rubio-Fernandez, Paula. 2008. On the automaticity of egocentricity: A review of the Egocentric Anchoring and Adjustment model of perspective taking. UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 20. 247-274
    • Sedivy, Julie. 2003. Pragmatic versus form-based accounts of referential contrast: Evidence for effects of informativity expectations. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 32(1). 3-23.
    • Sedivy, Julie C., Michael K. Tanenhaus, Craig G. Chambers & Gregory N. Carlson. 1999. Achieving incremental semantic interpretation through contextual representation. Cognition 71(2). 109- 147.
    • Shannon, Claude E. & Warren Weaver. 1949. The Mathematical Theory of Communication. University of Illinois Press.
    • Sonnenschein, Susan & Grover J. Whitehurs. 1984. Developing referential communication-skills - the interaction of role-switching and difference rule training. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 38(2). 191-207.
    • Sperber, Dan & Dierdre Wilson. 1986 [1995]. Relevance: Communication and Cognition. Oxford: Blackwell.
    • Strawson, Peter F. 1950. On Referring. Mind 59. 320-344.
    • Tanenhaus, Michael K. & Sarah Brown‐Schmidt. 2008. Language Processing in the natural world. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 363. 1105-1122.
    • Van Deemter, K. 2002. Generating referring expressions: Boolean extensions of the Incremental Algorithm. Computational Linguistics 28(1). 37-52.
    • Van Deemter, Kees, Albert Gatt, Roger PG van Gompel & Emiel Krahmer. 2009. Production of Referring Expressions (PRE-CogSci): Bridging the gap between computational and empirical approaches to reference. Proceedings of the 31st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2009), Amsterdam, 29 July-1 August 2009.
    • Van der Sluis, Ielka & Emiel Krahmer. 2007. Generating multimodal references. Discourse Processes 44. 145-174.
    • Viethen, Jette & Robert Dale. 2006. Algorithms for generating referring expressions: Do they do what people do?. Proceedings of the Fourth International Natural Language Generation Conference, Sydney, July 2006. 63-70.
    • Viethen, Jette & Robert Dale. 2008. Generating Relational References: What Makes a Difference?. Proceedings of the 2008 Australasian Language Technology Workshop, CSIRO Tasmania ICT Centre, Hobart, December 2008.
    • Viethen, Jette, Robert Dale, E. J. Krahmer, Mariët Theune & Pascal Touset. 2008. Controlling redundancy in referring expressions. Proceedings of the 6th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference, Marrakech, May 2008.
  • No related research data.
  • Discovered through pilot similarity algorithms. Send us your feedback.

Share - Bookmark

Cite this article