Anaphora: lexico-textual structure, or means for utterance integration within a discourse? A critique of the Functional Grammar account

Abstract : This article is a critical examination of Dik's (1997b: ch. 10) account of discourse anaphora, within the framework of the theory of Functional Grammar (but it highlights features of anaphora theory which hold more generally). I show first that Dik's definitions of the phenomenon involve two contradictory conceptions of this discourse procedure (the anaphor refers to a mental representation of its referent within a mental model of the ongoing discourse, yet at the same time needs first to connect up with a segment of co-text - its linguistic antecedent); second, that Dik's account of the relationship between given (pronominal) anaphor types and the "entity-order" of their potential referents is both too rigid and too narrow; and third, that his description of the underlying structure of anaphors, which includes both the referential index of their actual referent/antecedent and a variable specifying the latter's entity-order, does not allow for the necessary flexibility and dynamic character of anaphor use and interpretation. A discursively more realistic account of discourse anaphora needs to specify the necessary interaction between 'bottom-up' factors of these kinds, on the one hand, and 'top-down' relationships involving the wider discourse context, on the other. This is what I briefly outline at the end of the article.
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Francis Cornish. Anaphora: lexico-textual structure, or means for utterance integration within a discourse? A critique of the Functional Grammar account. Linguistics, De Gruyter, 2002, 40 (3), pp.469-493. ⟨hal-00967224⟩

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