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The Value of an Annotated Corpus in the Investigation of Anaphoric Pronouns : With Particular Reference to Backwards Anaphora in English.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Izumi Tanaka
Publication date2000
Number of pages341
Awarding Institution
Place of PublicationLancaster
  • Lancaster University
Electronic ISBNs9780438571280
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This thesis investigates English personal pronoun reference in particular focusing on cataphora (backwards anaphora), using the Anaphoric Treebank (AT), which is a written English corpus with discourse annotation, and other corpus data. The analysis of corpus data reveals certain coreferential cataphora patterns (in particular in the initial adverbial or initial direct speech constructions). On the basis of the corpus data, the claims on cataphora made by generative approaches and cognitive discourse theories are tested. The points which became clear in testing generative approaches are: (1) The result of an informant test indicates the inadequacy of narrowly restricting data to invented examples. (2) The lack of understanding of the scope of the application of the theory can be observed in Reinhart (1984) and Binding theories. (3) A sentential-level approach to investigate pronoun references is inadequate. The points which became clear in testing cognitive discourse theories are: (i) First mention cataphora and Overriding-type of cataphora clearly show that there is such a phenomenon that can be called cataphora. contrary to the sceptical view on cataphora. (ii) These cataphora data indicate that a pronoun reference can be made not only for an already-mentioned entity but also for a new discourse entity. Also the analysis of the borderline cases (anaphora/cataphora) reveals that in certain conditions, the reference-direction (anaphora/cataphora) judgement tends to involve a triple-choice (anaphoric / cataphoric /indeterminate), or it can involve a cline between the anaphoric pole and the cataphoric pole. This indicates that the reference-direction judgement of a pronoun (anaphora/cataphora) tends to reflect the way in which a reader perceive focus of attention (highlight) when the reader completes to resolve the pronoun. In order to account for the cataphora data, a suggestion is made that it is necessary, from readers' perspective, to assume that a pronoun creates a temporal information gathering point in some kind of the reader's short term memory.