A procedural analysis of 'This' and 'That'

Scott, Kate (2009) A procedural analysis of 'This' and 'That'. UCL Working Papers in Linguistics, 21, pp. 151-181. ISSN (print) 0956-7194


In this paper I consider the role of demonstrative determiners in a relevance theory based account of referring expressions. I argue that ‘this’ and ‘that’ encode procedural information relating to the relative proximity of the intended referent. In certain cases, this procedural information will contribute to reference resolution by either ruling out other potential referents or making the intended referent more salient. In such cases the speaker restricts the set of potential referents to a point where a representation of the intended referent is the most accessible in the discourse context. In other cases, the procedural information is not required for reference resolution, but may be used by the speaker to encourage the derivation of certain inferences, thus contributing to the implicit phase of interpretation.

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