LINGUIST List 14.1421

Mon May 19 2003

Disc: New: Anaphora makes the headlines

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <karenlinguistlist.org>


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  1. Michael A. Covington, Anaphora makes the headlines -- perhaps undeservedly

Message 1: Anaphora makes the headlines -- perhaps undeservedly

Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 14:10:54 -0400
From: Michael A. Covington <mcuga.edu>
Subject: Anaphora makes the headlines -- perhaps undeservedly

On the web page
http://www.cnn.com/2003/EDUCATION/05/15/psat.question.ap/index.html
CNN reports that the College Board has changed a number of students'
PSAT scores because the College Board now believes that the sentence

 Toni Morrison's genius enables her to create
 novels that arise from and express the injustices
 African Americans have endured.

is ungrammatical. Students were asked whether there was a grammar
error in this sentence, and the originally correct answer was, "No
error."

A student protested that the sentence is ungrammatical because there
is no antecedent for "her." The argument is that "Toni Morrison's" is
an adjective, not a noun (sic).

The College Board accepted the protest.

Well... Linguists, can a possessive NP serve as the antecedent for a
pronoun? I think so, and I think the College Board has erred. What
do others think?


Michael A. Covington, Associate Director
Artificial Intelligence Center 
The University of Georgia 
Athens, GA 30602-7415 U.S.A.
http://www.ai.uga.edu/~mc http://www.CovingtonInnovations.com 
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