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Anaphora by pronouns

  • An adequate conception of anaphora is still a desideratum. Considering the anaphoric use of third-person personal pronouns, the present study contributes to the solution of the question of what anaphora is. Major tenets of generative approaches to pronominal anaphora are surveyed; descriptive and methodological problems with transformational as well as interpretive treatments are discussed. The prevailing assumption that anaphora is a syntactically based phenomenon is shown tobe inadequate. In particular, it is argued that pronominal anaphora does not constitute a case of eilher a syntactic ( agreement) relation or a semantic ( coreference) relation between antecedents and anaphors, i.e. linguistic expressions. Infact, there is no grammatical antecedent-anaphor relation that is essential to the description of pronouns. Pronouns are to be treated in their own right rather than by recourse to supposed antecedents. An account of the use of pronouns has to be based on a notion of speaker reference and on a unified description of lexical entries for pronouns that specify their meanings. Sampie entries for English are suggested. It is emphasized that pronoun meanings rejlect social, not biological, classifications of possible referents. To the extent that pronouns are used according to morphosyntactic features, as in languages like German or French, lexical entries for pronouns should specify the pronouns' 'associative potential'. Associative potential has the samefunction as conceptual meaning, viz. delimiting the associated extension. In addition to this, pronouns turn out to differ from 'normal definite nominals' only in the low conceptual content of their meanings. Pronoun occurrences that apparently agree with and are coreferential with referential antecedents are found to form a restricted subclass of pronoun use in generat as weil as of anaphoric pronoun use. Thus one must refrainfromforcing each and every pronoun occurrence into this mold. Instead, anaphora by pronouns is characterized as a type of use where pronouns serve to refer to referents that the speaker considers to be retrievable from the universe-of-discourse.

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Author:Bernd Wiese
Parent Title (English):Linguistics : an interdisciplinary journal of the language sciences
Place of publication:Berlin
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:1983
Tag:Anapher; Pronomen
GND Keyword:Deutsch; Englisch; Semantik; Textlingustik
Page Number:45
First Page:373
Last Page:417
Dieser Beitrag ist mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers aufgrund einer (DFG geförderten) Allianz- bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich.
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 430 Deutsch
Open Access?:ja
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell-Keine Bearbeitung 3.0 Deutschland