Anaphora in Generative Grammar

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Intuitively, it is clear why languages have anaphoric relations: anaphora reduces redundancy, thereby shortening (and hence simplifying) sentences. In order for this simplification to be possible, however, it is necessary that the speaker of a language be able to identify correctly the elements participating in an anaphoric relation and to determine correctly the meaning of the anaphor on the basis of meaning of the antecedent. If a grammar is to reflect the linguistic competence of a native speaker of a language, it must include mechanisms of associating anaphor and antecedent. In this volume the following questions will be considered: What sorts of mechanisms are best suited for representing anaphora in a grammar? What are the conditions on the rule(s) associating anaphors with antecedents? Do the various cases of anaphora form a linguistically significant class of phenomena, and, if so, how can the grammar capture this fact? And what do these answers entail for linguistic theory?

Subjects: English linguistics; Syntax; Generative linguistics; Theoretical linguistics

  • Affiliations: 1: Stanford University

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