Anaphora, Discourse, and Understanding: Evidence from English and French

Hardcover | February 1, 1999

byFrancis Cornish

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"This was a different man," said Mr Welbecker. "Listen! This man was called Hamlet and his uncle had killed his father because he wanted to marry his mother.""What did he want to marry his mother for?" said William. "I've never heard of anyone wanting to marry their mother."*In almost any conversation the meaning of what is said depends on the listener seeing how some words refer to what has already been said, and that others must be related to the characteristics of time, place, or person of the situation around which the conversation revolves. These modes ofreference, anaphora and deixis respectively, involve surprisingly complicated cognitive and syntactic processes, which people (normally) perform easily and unerringly. But they present formidable problems for the linguist and cognitive scientist trying to explain precisely how comprehension isachieved. Anaphora and deixis are thus a central research focus in syntactic theory, while understanding and modelling their operation in discourse are important targets in computational linguistics and cognitive science. In this ambitious work, Francis Cornish sets out an original theory ofanaphora and deixis, and proposes a new and elegant theoretical model to represent the transfer of meaning in discourse.Dr Cornish considers anaphoric reference in discourse from both psychological and linguistic perspectives. He argues that anaphora and deixis are essentially parts of integrative discourse procedures that facilitate the linking of representations held in working memory. He brings together work bylinguists, formal semanticists, psychologists, and researchers in artificial intelligence, as well as drawing on his own extensive experimental work on a variety of corpora of different genres in French and English.Anaphora, Discourse, and Understanding will interest researchers and advanced students in a variety of fields within and outside linguistics, including cognitive science, artificial intelligence, syntactic theory, formal semantics, and the analysis of discourse.[* from William - The Pirate by Richmal Crompton, London, Macmillan, 1932]

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"This was a different man," said Mr Welbecker. "Listen! This man was called Hamlet and his uncle had killed his father because he wanted to marry his mother.""What did he want to marry his mother for?" said William. "I've never heard of anyone wanting to marry their mother."*In almost any conversation the meaning of what is said depen...

Francis Cornish is a Professor of English Linguistics, Studies of the Anglophone World department at Universite de Toulouse le Mirail.

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Hardcover|Sep 15 2015

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Format:HardcoverPublished:February 1, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198236484

ISBN - 13:9780198236481

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Anaphora and discourse3. Semantic-pragmatic determinants of anaphoric value: the role of the indexical segment4. Exophora, saliency, and discourse memory5. Reference within a discourse model: the mental representation of 'antecedents' and discourse referents6. The user's perspective: the on-line processing of discourse anaphors7. Conclusion