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On the Offensive

By Karen Stollznow

On the Offensive " This book sheds light on the derogatory phrases, insults, slurs, stereotypes, tropes and more that make up linguistic discrimination. Each chapter addresses a different area of prejudice: race and ethnicity; gender identity; sexuality; religion; health and disability; physical appearance; and age."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Value of an Annotated Corpus in The Investigation of Anaphoric Pronouns, with Particular Reference to Backwards Anaphora in English Add Dissertation
Author: Izumi Tanaka Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Lancaster University, BA programmes in Language and Linguistics
Completed in: 2000
Linguistic Subfield(s): Text/Corpus Linguistics;
Subject Language(s): English
Director(s): Geoffrey Leech
Anthony McEnery

Abstract: 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).

In order to account for the corpus data of cataphoric pronouns, the following suggestions can be made:

(i) It is necessary, from readers' perspective, to assume that a personal pronoun creates a temporal information gathering point in some kind of the reader's short term memory.
(ii) The reference-direction judgement of a personal pronoun (anaphora/cataphora) tends to reflect the way in which a reader perceives focus of attention (highlight) when the reader resolves the pronoun reference.