Publication details

Complex referencing : Means of signalling, retrievability span, and idea limit



Year of publication 2016
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description As far as their functions in sentences are concerned, the deictic pronouns this and that, and particularly the impersonal it, are rather versatile. Among their functions is the ability to represent long stretches of text and several ideas simultaneously. Primarily, this “summarizing” function is of interest because it seems to contradict some views held by a number of scholars, including, for instance, Wallace Chafe (limited number of ideas active at the same time) and Jan Firbas (retrievability span). The first goal of the study will thus be to determine the average number of sentences and ideas that can be represented by these “summarizing pronouns”. In addition, in order for the “summarizing” function to be effective, the addressee/reader needs to be able to recognize that something is being summarized. Determining the syntactic and lexical signals by which this recognition is facilitated will be the second goal of the analysis. Finally, the study will determine whether there is a correlation between the way the “summarizing” function is being signalled and the number of sentences and ideas the “summarizing” pronouns contain. The expectation is that the greater the number of sentences and ideas represented in the pronouns, the more prominently the “summarizing” function needs to be signalled. The analysis will be performed on five topically enclosed texts (i.e. a chapter), two of academic prose, two of fiction prose, and one of popular science prose.
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