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LINGUIST List 20.109

Tue Jan 13 2009

Diss: Ling Theories/Syntax/Text/Corpus Ling: Fontaine: 'A Systemic ...'

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        1.    Lise Fontaine, A Systemic Functional Approach to Referring Expressions: Reconsidering postmodification in the nominal group


Message 1: A Systemic Functional Approach to Referring Expressions: Reconsidering postmodification in the nominal group
Date: 12-Jan-2009
From: Lise Fontaine <FontaineLcardiff.ac.uk>
Subject: A Systemic Functional Approach to Referring Expressions: Reconsidering postmodification in the nominal group
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Institution: Cardiff University
Program: Centre for Language and Communication
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2008

Author: Lise M Fontaine

Dissertation Title: A Systemic Functional Approach to Referring Expressions: Reconsidering postmodification in the nominal group

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories
                            Syntax
                            Text/Corpus Linguistics

Dissertation Director:
Gordon H. Tucker

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis explores the relevant systems which model the choices speakers
make when referring to objects. Referring expressions have received
relatively little attention in Systemic Functional Linguistics, although
from a purely structural perspective some work has attempted to account for
postmodification in the nominal group. The main goal of this thesis is to
produce a theoretical and analytical approach to referring expressions
including complex referring expressions in particular. This requires a
shift in perspective from structural ('nominal group') to functional
('referring expression').

The research presented in this thesis has three main aims:

- to develop a methodology for analysing referring expressions following
the system networks as closely as possible. The thesis offers considerable
detail concerning the methodology developed, including the tagging of three
corpora. The analytical framework taken adapts as closely as possible the
relevant system networks for referring expressions. This offers a better
understanding of the interaction between the various functional components
of these expressions.

- to contribute to the systemic functional theoretical model of language in
the area of referring expressions by presented a detailed description of
referring expressions. This includes the frequency and interaction of the
various functional components of referring expressions with attention to
variation and stability over individuals and text type.

- to develop a new theory of complex referring expressions which is based
on systemic choice rather than on structural or lexical classification. As
a result, the main theoretical contribution of this thesis is a new
perspective on complex referring expressions. This perspective explores the
transitivity patterns of these expressions and it also revises the system
network for 'thing'.

In addition the thesis has produced an XML database of over 3,000 fully
analysed referring expressions and a second database including detailed
coding of complex referring expressions.



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