Coherence and Anaphora
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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Abstract. This paper focuses on the use in discourse of abstract-object anaphors (AOs), viz. the unmarked personal pronoun it and the marked deictic pronouns that (this). Current proposals made on this matter by Arie (1994), Gundel et al. (1993), Passoneau (1989) and Webber (1991) are critically assessed. It is argued that the AO that has a predicating value and enhances the activation of the antecedent-trigger information, while the AO it has a presupposing value and enhances the activation of the anaphor-clause representation. The different uses of the two AOs are positioned on a scale according to their mutual substitutability. The extreme ends of the scale are taken up by the nonanaphoric and nonreplaceable uses of that or it. For each AO, the strong substitution classes contain the extreme use and the uses which scarcely allow mutual replacement. The weak substitution classes contain those uses where the distribution of that and it is basically guided by focus shift, referent establishment and referent prominence.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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