On the interpretation of possessives in Czech: An experimental approach


  • Barbara Mertins




This paper presents first findings from an offline study of Czech native speakers’ use and interpretation of reflexive and non-reflexive possessive pronouns. The study is part of a larger possessive project outlined by Fabricius-Hansen et al. (2017), leaning on the comprehension experiment presented in Pitz et al. (2017). The study encompasses questionnaire data collected from 259 informants who were tested under four different conditions on two competing pronouns: the reflexive possessive (svůj) and the 3rd person non-reflexive possessive (jeho). The results revealed that Czech native speakers show a strong uncertainty when interpreting constructions with a cataphoric non-reflexive possessive. This shows that even for native speakers, the establishment of the anaphoric and cataphoric relations under certain syntactic conditions is a challenging and highly complex task. With these results, several hypotheses are formulated in various target-source-language pairs concerning the processing of reflexive and non-reflexive possessives in L2.