Chapter 12. Interpreting antecedentless pronouns in narrative texts

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Antecedentless pronouns provide a key to understanding the cognitive processing of texts, since, in the absence of antecedents, interpretation of these pronouns relies on inference-making based on general knowledge and/or text-specific knowledge (e.g. Yule 1982; Sanford et al. 1983; Gerrig 1986; Greene et al. 1994; Cornish 1996, 1999; Wales 1996; Emmott 1997, 1999; Gundel et al. 2005; Sanford et al. 2008; Gerrig et al. 2011). I examine examples of antecedentless pronouns in narratives and argue that interpretation depends on many factors, including scenario-mapping (Sanford & Garrod 1981, 1998; also Sanford & Emmott 2012) and world-building processes such as entity-linking, perspective-tracking and contextual monitoring (Emmott 1997). I also discuss the implications for anaphoric theory of knowledge-based approaches to pronoun interpretation.


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