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‘World-to-Language' Shifts between an Antecedent and its Pro-Form

Abstract : In this paper, I offer a preliminary description of a phenomenon that has, to my knowledge, rarely been discussed before by specialists of anaphora. My focus is on utterances, or sequences of utterances (discourses), of the following type: (1) (X says) That's a rhinoceros (and Y responds) A what? Spell it for me. (Lyons, 1977: 667) In this example, the it in Y's utterance stands for the word rhinoceros in X's. However, it is not coreferential with its ‘antecedent': whereas (a) rhinoceros denotes a class of animals in ‘the world', it denotes the word-type used as a name for that class, a word-type of which the antecedent is a token. In other words, there has been a shift in the universe of discourse, from ‘the world' to ‘language'. Or, to use the standard terminology originally proposed by Quine (1940), whereas the word rhinoceros is ‘used' ordinarily in the first sentence, it is ‘mentioned' (by means of it) in the second.
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Contributor : Nicolas Bullot <>
Submitted on : Friday, December 3, 2004 - 11:20:28 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 9:58:02 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, September 14, 2012 - 4:46:08 PM


  • HAL Id : ijn_00000555, version 1



Philippe de Brabanter. ‘World-to-Language' Shifts between an Antecedent and its Pro-Form. 2004. ⟨ijn_00000555⟩



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