Pronominal Anaphora

Karen Van Hoek

in The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199738632
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Pronominal Anaphora

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The theory of cognitive grammar, developed by Ron Langacker, assumes that there are in fact only three kinds of linguistic units: semantic, phonological, and symbolic, where a symbolic unit is a bipolar unit consisting of a semantic unit paired with a phonological unit, similar to a Saussurean “sign.” Cognitive grammar takes the position that syntactic phenomena can be fully characterized using only these three kinds of units, without requiring a special vocabulary or special constructs for the description of syntax. An ideal test case for these claims is the classic problem of pronominal anaphora: the principles governing the circumstances under which a pronoun and a name or descriptive noun phrase can be interpreted as referring to the same person or thing. The most widely accepted models within the generative linguistics tradition are based on the notion of c-command, a theoretical construct which does not satisfy the criteria for inclusion in a cognitive linguistic approach. This article discusses pronominal anaphora, nominal semantics, conceptual reference points, conceptual connectivity and linear order, and point of view effects.

Keywords: cognitive grammar; syntax; pronominal anaphora; generative linguistics; c-command; nominal semantics; conceptual reference points; conceptual connectivity; linear order; point of view effects

Article.  10251 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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