How Robust Is Discourse Processing for Native Readers? The Role of Connectives and the Coherence Relations They Convey.

Wetzel, Mathis; Zufferey, Sandrine; Gygax, Pascal (2022). How Robust Is Discourse Processing for Native Readers? The Role of Connectives and the Coherence Relations They Convey. Frontiers in psychology, 13, p. 822151. Frontiers Research Foundation 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.822151

fpsyg-13-822151.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (1MB) | Preview

While corpus studies have shown that discourse connectives that convey the same coherence relation can display subtle differences, research on online discourse processing has only focused on a rather limited set of connectives. Yet, different connectives - for example, rare or polyfunctional ones - might elicit different reading patterns. In order to explore this assumption, we test the robustness of discourse processing for French native speakers by measuring the way they process causal and concessive sentences that are conveyed by either an appropriate or inappropriate connective. Throughout three experiments, we change important characteristics of the connectives: we first test frequently used connectives (Experiment 1), secondly less frequent ones (Experiment 2), and finally less frequent connectives that are polyfunctional and for which different functions clearly compete (Experiment 3). Our results show that the processing for incoherent items was affected for all connectives, however readers showed altered reading fluency when infrequent connectives were used. We conclude that discourse processing is quite robust and that readers are able to insert meaning conveyed by rare connectives while still showing the highest reading ease with frequent connectives.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of French Language and Literature

UniBE Contributor:

Wetzel, Mathis, Zufferey, Sandrine


800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 840 French & related literatures
400 Language > 440 French & related languages




Frontiers Research Foundation




Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

07 Mar 2022 13:47

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:12

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

connectives discourse processing frequency online reading polyfunctionality




Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback