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LINGUIST List 20.3109

Tue Sep 15 2009

Diss: Discourse Analysis/Pragmatics: Yoshida: 'Patterns of Use of...'

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        1.    Etsuko Yoshida, Patterns of Use of Referring Expressions in English and Japanese Dialogues

Message 1: Patterns of Use of Referring Expressions in English and Japanese Dialogues
Date: 14-Sep-2009
From: Etsuko Yoshida <tantanhuman.mie-u.ac.jp>
Subject: Patterns of Use of Referring Expressions in English and Japanese Dialogues
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Institution: University of Edinburgh
Program: Linguistics and English Language
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2008

Author: Etsuko Yoshida

Dissertation Title: Patterns of Use of Referring Expressions in English and Japanese Dialogues

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
                            Pragmatics

Dissertation Director:
Ronnie Cann
Caroline Heycock
James R. Hurford

Dissertation Abstract:

The main aim of the thesis is to investigate how discourse entities are
linked with topic chaining and discourse coherence by showing that the
choice and the distribution of referring expressions is correlated with the
center transition patterns in the centering framework. The thesis provides
an integrated interpretation in understanding the behaviour of referring
expressions in discourse by considering the relation between referential
choice and the local and global coherence of discourse.

The thesis has three stages: (1) to provide a semantic and pragmatic
perspective in a contrastive study of referring expressions in English and
Japanese spontaneous dialogues, (2) to analyse the way anaphoric and
deictic expressions can contribute to discourse organisation in structuring
and focusing the specific discourse segment, and (3) to investigate the
choice and the distribution of referring expressions in the Map Task Corpus
and to clarify the way the participants collaborate to judge the most
salient entity in the current discourse against their common ground.

Significantly, despite the grammatical differences in the form of reference
between the two languages, the ways of discourse development in both data
sets show distinctive similarities in the process by which the topic
entities are introduced, established, and shifted away to the subsequent
topic entities. Comparing and contrasting the choice and the distribution
of referring expressions of the four different transition patterns of
centers, the crucial factors of their correspondent relations between
English and Japanese referring expressions are shown in the findings that
the topic chains of noun phrases are constructed and are treated like
proper names in discourse. This can suggest that full noun phrases play a
major role when the topic entity is established in the course of discourse.
Since the existing centering model cannot handle the topic chain of noun
phrases in the anaphoric relations in terms of the local focus of
discourse, centering must be integrated with a model of global focus to
account for both pronouns and full noun phrases that can be used for
continuations across segment boundaries.

Based on Walker's cache model, I argue that the forms of anaphors are not
always shorter, and the focus of attention is maintained by the chain of
noun phrases rather than by (zero) pronouns both within a discourse segment
and over discourse segment boundaries. These processes are predicted and
likely to underlie other uses of language as well. The result can modify
the existing perspectives that the focus of attention is normally
represented by attenuated forms of reference, and full noun phrases always
show focus-shift. In addition, necessary extension to the global coherence
of discourse can link these anaphoric relations with the deictic
expressions over discourse segment boundaries. Finally, I argue that the
choice and the distribution of referring expressions in the Map Task Corpus
depends on the way the participants collaborate to judge the most salient
entity in the current discourse against their common ground.



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