Referential choice in multimodal communication
This article deals with an application of referential markup to a large multimodal resource “Russian Pear Chats and Stories”, annotated for vocal, oculomotor, manual and cephalic channels. Despite a large number of works on referential choice, it has never been investigated within the framework of multimodal communication. For this purpose, a special annotation scheme in the ELAN environment is proposed, allowing one to annotate different types of referential units and to conduct a simultaneous tracking of referential expressions (full NPs, pronouns, demonstratives, zeroes, etc) with accompanying verbal and non-verbal units. The analysis of three recordings (overall duration equals to 141 minute), where the new referential annotation was introduced in addition to the existing multimodal markup, reveals a range of understudied peculiarities of the referential choice. It was found that the role of the Commentator in the conversation entails a significantly larger amount of constructions with a zero subject pronoun, compared to the monologue discourse of the Narrator and the Reteller. The analysis of referential expressions and accompanying pointing gestures complied with more general data previously obtained on the English material and showed that nouns are significantly more often accompanied by a pointing stroke than personal pronouns, while demonstratives occupy an intermediate position between nouns and personal pronouns as units potentially accompanied by a gesture.