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Discourse anaphora in Peninsular Spanish interactions: signalling alignment through anaphor selection

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>01/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Pragmatics
Issue number1
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)183-197
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In spoken interactions in Peninsular Spanish, a degree of active collaboration is displayed by listeners which seems greater than that present in exchanges between English-speaking interlocutors. This article examines the range of strategies used by Peninsular Spanish listeners to signal engagement with the speaker through their interpretation, disambiguation, and convergent use of anaphors. While in some instances the choice of anaphor is predicted by the general pattern of anaphora, there are instances of successful anaphor resolution achieved via lack of pronominal agreement, particularly in cases of associative anaphora.

Explanations of the use of full NPs in Peninsular Spanish in contexts where the general theory of anaphora would predict a reduced anaphoric form tend to rely on neo-Gricean accounts of referential markedness. However, their appearance in non-ambiguous contexts suggests that in Peninsular Spanish interactions the need to establish affiliation overrides neo-Gricean and cognitive predictions on anaphor distribution. Shifts in pronominal agreement can also reflect fluctuations in the speaker's stance, which are replicated by the listener. Anaphoric alignment is also perceived in a range of allo-repetitions whose structure, at both intra- and intersentential levels, is a signal of interactional convergence.

It is argued that anaphor choice can function as an alignment-marker, overriding both grammatical constraints on agreement and markedness predictions.