Front Page Information: Article Omission in Italian Headlines in light of Information Density
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When confronted with multiple options to convey the same meaning, speakers tend to choose for the option that distributes information, as measured by surprisal, as evenly as possible over a sentence (Uniform Information Density Hypothesis, or UIDH). In this paper, it is investigated if the UIDH can be used to explain patterns of article omission in Italian newspaper headlines. To study this question, a corpus study has been conducted. As overt articles lower the surprisal of the following noun, it was expected that article omission would occur more frequently before low surprisal nouns. However, while previous research for Dutch and German found results that were in line with the UIDH, the current study found the opposite effect. The UIDH, therefore, cannot be used to account for article omission in Italian newspaper headlines.