A Formal Approach to Discourse Anaphora: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

A Formal Approach to Discourse Anaphora

1st Edition

Edited by Bonnie Lynn Webber


199 pages

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First published in 1979, this book starts from the perspective that dealing with anaphoric language can be decomposed into two complementary tasks: 1. identifying what a text potentially makes available for anaphoric reference and 2. constraining the candidate set of a given anaphoric expression down to one possible choice. The author argues there is an intimate connection between formal sentential analysis and the synthesis of an appropriate conceptual model of the discourse. Some of the issues with the creation of this conceptual model are discussed in the second chapter, which follows a background to the thesis that catalogues the types of anaphoric expression available in English and lists the types of things that can be referred to anaphorically. The third and fourth chapters examine two types of anaphoric expression that do not refer to non-linguistic entities. The final chapter details three areas into which this research could potentially be extended. This book will be of interest to students of linguistics.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Table of Contents; Synopsis; Chapter 1. Introduction; 1. Statement of the Problem 2. The Range of Discourse Anaphora 3. Historical Background 3.1 Factors Influencing Anaphor Resolution 3.1.1 Number/gender agreement 3.1.2 Backwards Anaphora constraint 3.1.3 Theme 3.1.4 Role Inertia 3.1.5 Semantic Sectional Restrictions 3.1.6 Recency and Scene Shifts 3.1.7 Implicit Causality 3.1.8 Possible Words 3.2 Methods of Simplifying Anaphor Resolution 3.3. Previous Research on Verb Phrase Ellipsis 4. The Range of Antecedents and Referents 4.1 Individuals 4.2 Sets 4.3 Stuff 4.4 Generics 4.5 Prototypes 4.6 Actions, Events, States, Prepositions 4.7 Descriptions 4.8 Predicates 5. Fundamental Assumptions 6. Thesis Organisation; Chapter 2. Definite Pronouns; 1. Introduction1.1 The Notion of a Discourse Model 1.2 The Importance of Descriptions 1.3 Warnings to the Reader 1.4 Chapter Organisation 2. Factors in forming Discourse Entity IDs 2.1 Noun Phrase Specificity 2.1.1 The Definite/Indefinite Distinction 2.1.2 The Referential/Attributive Distinction 2.1.3 The Specific/Non-specific Distinction 2.1.4 Non-standard Determiners 2.2 Member/Set Information 2.3 Three Uses of Plurals 2.4 Pronouns in the Input 2.5 Alternative Perspectives 2.6 Embedded Noun Phrases 3. Representational Conventions 3.1 Noun Phrases in General 3.2 Singular Noun Phrases 3.3 Plural Noun Phrases 4. Preliminary Rule for Deriving Discourse Entity IDs 4.1 Informal Examples 4.2 Independent Quantifiers and Definite Descriptions 4.3 Dependent Quantifiers and Definite Descriptions 4.3.1 For each… there exists 4.3.2 Class Restriction Dependencies 4.3.3 Quantifiers in class Restrictions 5. Other Factors in Deriving Descriptions 5.1 Tense 5.2 Conditionals 5.3 Disjunction 5.4 Negation 6. Discourse Models and Anaphor Resolution 7. Summary; Chapter 3. "One Anaphora"; 1. Introduction 2. Requirements on a Representation 2.1 Preserving Noun Phrases as Structural Units 2.2 Further Factoring of Descriptions 2.3 Disambiguating Word Senses 2.4 Resolving Definite Pronouns 3. Possible Representations 3.1 Syntactic Surface Structure 3.2 Level-2 Interpretations 4. Identifying Candidate Antecedents 5. Representatives of ‘One’-Anaphora 5.1 That and Those 5.2 O 5.3 It 6. Non-explicit Descriptions 7. Summary; Chapter 4: Verb Phrases Ellipsis; 1. Introduction 1.1 Historical Context 1.2 Chapter Organisation 2. System Requirements: Representational & Procedural 2.1 Surface Subjects 2.2 Pronouns 2.3 Existential Quantifiers 2.4 Negation 25 Plurals 2.6 Non-subject Relative Clauses 3. Surface Constraints on Verb Phrases Ellipsis 3.1 Proximity 3.2 Structural Position 3.3 Voice Constraints 3.4 Negation 3.5 Tense and Aspect 4. Resolving Verb Phrase Ellipsis 5. Inference and Verb Phrase Ellipsis 5.1 Conjoined Predicates and ‘Headless’ relatives 5.2 Split Reciprocals 5.3 Embedded Descriptions 6. Summary; Chapter 5. Conclusion; 1. Summary 2. Future Research 2.1 Data-driven and expectation-driven Processes in Model Synthesis 2.2 Reference Requirements in Limited Contexts 2.3 Sententially-evoked Discourse Entities 3. Epilogue; Bibliography

About the Series

RLE: Discourse Analysis

Discourse analysis is a wide ranging area of study that examines the features of language beyond the limits of a sentence — including vocal, written and sign language, along with any significant semiotic events. It has been employed from a number of interdisciplinary perspectives in an attempt to reveal a person’s socio-psychological characteristics through the practical analysis of naturally-occurring language rather than artificially created examples.

Routledge Library Editions: Discourse Analysis brings together an extensive collection of scholarship that reflects the broad scope of the subject area, examining the relationship of discourse to a number of closely related fields including stylistics, pragmatics, speech, conversation, context, anaphora, grammar and psychology. This set, published between 1979 and 1993, provides a thorough grounding in this key discipline for students of linguistics and psychology, and social sciences in general.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Historical & Comparative
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Sociolinguistics
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Syntax
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Semantics