It was about one and a half years ago that I finally I arrived where I had always wanted to be and do what I had always wanted-- teach students, support small language communities and conduct research on African languages on my doorstep. The University of Cape Town and my new colleagues welcomed my efforts to establish the Centre for African Language Diversity-- CALDi as well as The African Language Archive-- TALA and I was recently appointed the Mellon Research Chair: African Language Diversity this initiative. The main aim of CALDi is to train young African scholars in descriptive linguistics and open up space for research into African languages at UCT with the hopes of countering the dominance of African linguistics outside the continent. It has been a great challenge for which my whole career has been a form of preparation...Read more
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Proper Nouns and Pronouns
The production of referential expressions in narrative discourse
In consecutive references to narrative characters, narrators usually
alternate between the use of proper nouns and pronouns. This study aims to
provide a comprehensive and cognitively plausible account of reference
maintenance in online narrative discourse production.
The corpus research reported in this study offers an analysis of the
grammatical and discourse factors affecting referential choice in narrative
discourse production. The analysis is based on a large corpus of written
narratives, elicited through visual stimuli (a comic). The results of the
quantitative analyses indicate that in the maintenance of reference to
narrative characters, the choice between proper nouns and pronouns is
guided by two mechanisms: an independent distance-based alternation of
proper nouns and pronouns, and the repetition of proper nouns after
discourse-structural boundaries. These linear and hierarchical factors can
be assumed to
exert their influence through the fluctuation of (assumed) referent
salience. The relation between context factors and referential form stems
from the salience characteristics inherent in the nominal categories proper
noun and pronoun, which accounts for reference maintenance at both the
clause and the discourse level.
Proper Nouns and Pronouns should be of interest to researchers working in
the fields of text linguistics, cognitive linguistics and psycholinguistics.