Article published in:Relevance Theory: Recent developments, current challenges and future directions
Edited by Manuel Padilla Cruz
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 268] 2016
► pp. 81–102
Reference assignment in pronominal argument languages
A relevance-theoretic perspective
Using data from Toposa and Kiswahili, this article demonstrates that the reference assignment in pronominal languages does not only constrain the process of identifying the intended referent, but the pronominal marking on the verb also assists with disambiguating whether a nominal expression has attributive or referential value. A nominal expression enters the discourse as underspecified regarding for referential/attributive meaning and therefore needs to be enriched through saturation. The pronominal marking on the verb triggers the process of enrichment. If the overt pronoun occurs in addition to the default incorporated pronoun on the verb, it carries the procedural marker of identificational or contrastive focus, similar to the contrastive stress in English.
Keywords: attributive nominalisation, conceptual/procedural meaning, pronominal argument languages, reference assignment, referential nominalisation
Published online: 20 October 2016
Cram, David, and Paul Hedley
Donnellan, Keith S.
Sperber, Dan, and Deirdre Wilson
Van Valin, Robert D., Jr., and Randy LaPolla
Watters, John R.
1979 “Focus in Aghem: A Study of its Formal Correlates and Typology. Part 3.” In Aghem Grammatical Structure: With Special Reference to Noun Classes, Tense-aspect and Focus Marking, ed. by Larry M. Hyman, 137–197. Southern California Occasional Papers in Linguistics 7. Los Angeles: University of Southern California.