Degrees of indirectness: Two types of implicit referents and their retrieval via unaccented pronouns

Abstract : In this chapter, I aim to show that so-called"indirect" anaphora, when realized via unaccented pronouns, is less of a marked discourse phenomenon than previously claimed. After a definition of indirect anaphora, which is distinguished from 'exophora',in particular, the chapter tries to delimit the threshold of discourse-cognitive activation or saliency beyond which the retrieval of an intended 'indirect' referent by a token of this indexical form type is not possible without incurring a processing cost. One condition for such a retrieval is claimed to be the degree of centrality of the referent (central argument of the predicate concerned, or peripheral instrument) within the semantic-pragmatic structure in terms of which the antecedent-trigger is represented in the discourse already established at the point of retrieval. Another is the nature of the referent itself (specific though indefinite, on the one hand, or non-specific frame-bound entity, on the other). Finally, I will present the format for an experimental verification of the hypothesis outlined above which has recently been carried out, in both a French and an English version, and will summarize its main results.
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Francis Cornish. Degrees of indirectness: Two types of implicit referents and their retrieval via unaccented pronouns. A. Branco, T. McEnery & R. Mitkov. Anaphora Processing: Linguistic, cognitive and computational modelling, John Benjamins, pp.199-220, 2005. ⟨hal-00967378⟩

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