Tense as discourse anaphor

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Abstract

In this paper, I consider a range of English expressions and show that their context-dependency can be characterized in terms of two properties:1. They specify entities in an evolving model of the discourse that the listener is constructing;2. The particular entity specified depends on another entity in that part of the evolving "discourse model" that the listener is currently attending to.Such expressions have been called anaphors . I show how tensed clauses share these characteristics, usually just attributed to anaphoric noun phrases. This not only allows us to capture in a simple way the oft-stated but difficult-to-prove intuition that tense is anaphoric , but also contributes to our knowledge of what is needed for understanding narrative text.

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Authors

  • Bonnie Lynn Webber

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