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Constraints on metalinguistic anaphora

Abstract : The focus of this paper is on a subset of heteronymous mention, namely those cases in which the mentioning expression is, roughly speaking, anaphorically linked to the string it mentions. I will distinguish two subclasses. In the first one, the antecedent of the metalinguistic anaphor is a quotation. This means that both the antecedent and the anaphor refer to a linguistic entity (the same one, it turns out; these expressions are co-referential). In the second subclass, the antecedent is not a quotation; it is a string in ordinary use. Here we have no co-reference: whereas the anaphor refers metalinguistically, the antecedent either refers to an object in the world or does not refer at all. This second subclass is especially interesting because it instantiates a shift in the universe of discourse, from extralinguistic reality to language. Where such a shift occurs, I will speak of ‘world-to-language' anaphora. I will argue that metalinguistic anaphora is best described in terms of a theory that assumes that various anaphoric expressions encode various degrees of salience of referents. But I will also show that salience is built in the context of utterance. It is not necessarily an acquired feature of the referent by the time the anaphor is processed: there is adjustment between the anaphor and its immediate linguistic environment. Besides, we will see that other factors may also affect anaphora resolution, which suggests that the best account must, in essence, be pragmatic.
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Preprints, Working Papers, ...
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Contributor : Philippe de Brabanter <>
Submitted on : Saturday, December 6, 2008 - 12:02:32 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 9:58:02 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, September 22, 2010 - 11:19:08 AM


  • HAL Id : ijn_00083956, version 2



Philippe de Brabanter. Constraints on metalinguistic anaphora. 2007. ⟨ijn_00083956v2⟩



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