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Journal Articles Language Sciences Year : 2011

'Strict' anadeixis, discourse deixis and text structuring

Francis Cornish


Taking English as the example language, the article begins by presenting a Scale of indexicality characterizing context-bound expression types, ranging from those signalling pure deixis at one pole, to ones expressing pure anaphora at the other. On the basis of this Scale, the article attempts to determine the specific way in which demonstratives (pronouns as well as NPs) may realize the discourse procedures of deixis and "anadeixis" --a referring procedure that involves partly anaphoric, and partly deictic reference. It is the discourse-structuring function of deictic and anadeictic indexicals that is the particular focus of the article. Textual examples are presented and analysed of anadeictically-functioning demonstrative NPs (whether of the 'strict' anadeixis or the discourse-deixis type) that are either initial or non-initial within their discourse unit, and which serve either to herald a transition between major discourse units within a given text, or to actually implement one. Demonstrative expressions may also serve to switch the focus back to an earlier topical referent or discourse unit, which will have since been superseded by a more recent topic or unit. The current unit then further develops that earlier topic or discourse unit. It is the deictic property of demonstratives, coded morphologically in English via their proximal vs. distal character, along with the nature of the predicative component of the expression where it is a lexical NP, which enables such expression types to perform the discourse-structuring roles at issue here. As such, this component may not correspond to presupposed information, but rather performs a (re-)classifying or predicating function.


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hal-00966803 , version 1 (27-03-2014)


  • HAL Id : hal-00966803 , version 1


Francis Cornish. 'Strict' anadeixis, discourse deixis and text structuring. Language Sciences, 2011, 33 (5), pp.753-767. ⟨hal-00966803⟩
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