Anaphora and Conceptual Structure

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This work presents an analysis of the classic problem of constraints on pronominal anaphora within the framework of cognitive grammar. The author proceeds from the position that grammatical structure can be characterized in terms of semantic and phonological representations, without autonomous syntactic structures or principles, such as tree structures or c-command. She argues that constraints on anaphora can be explained in terms of semantic interactions between nominals and the contexts in which they are embedded. Integrating the results of previous work, van Hoek develops a model in which some nominals function as conceptual reference points which dominate over stretches defined by the semantic relations among elements. When a full noun is in the domain of a reference point, co-reference is ruled out, since the speaker would be sending contradictory messages about the salience of the noun's referent. This book is designed to interest theoretical linguists of all persuasions.