Anaphora: Text-based or discourse-dependent? Functionalist vs. formalist accounts

Abstract : The traditional definition of anaphora in purely co-textual terms as a relation between two co-occurring expressions is in wide currency in theoretical and descriptive studies of the phenomenon. Indeed, it is currently adopted in on-line psycholinguistic experiments on the interpretation of anaphors, and is the basis for all computational approaches to automatic anaphor resolution (see Mitkov, 2002). Under this conception, the anaphor, a referentially-dependent expression type, requires "saturation" by an appropriate referentially-autonomous, lexically-based expression --the antecedent-- in order to achieve full sense and reference. However, this definition needs to be re-examined in the light of the ways in which real texts operate and are understood, where the resulting picture is rather different. The article aims to show that the co-textual conception is misconceived, and that anaphora is essentially an integrative, discourse-creating procedure involving a three-way relationship between an "antecedent trigger", an anaphoric predication, and a salient discourse representation of a situation. It is shown that it is only in terms of a dynamic interaction amongst the interdependent dimensions of text and discourse, as well as context, that the true complexity of anaphoric reference may be satisfactorily described. The article is intended as a contribution to the broader debate which has been going on within the pages of this journal and elsewhere between the formalist and the functionalist accounts of language structure and use.
Type de document :
Article dans une revue
Functions of Language, John Benjamins Publishing, 2010, 17 (2), pp.207-241. 〈10.1075/fol.17.2.03cor〉
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Soumis le : mercredi 26 mars 2014 - 15:30:58
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Francis Cornish. Anaphora: Text-based or discourse-dependent? Functionalist vs. formalist accounts. Functions of Language, John Benjamins Publishing, 2010, 17 (2), pp.207-241. 〈10.1075/fol.17.2.03cor〉. 〈hal-00966398〉



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