Interpreting anaphora without identifying reference

Journal of Semantics 1 (3-4):315-322 (1982)
Abstract
It is proposed that, by adopting an antecedent-determined account of the interpretation of anaphoric pronominais, we may misrepresent what is actually required in the interpretive process. If we adopt an antecedent plus predicate(s)-determined account, we may arrive at massively over-specified representations which would seem to create a substantial processing load. Since it can be observed that one of the characteristics of conversational speech is the occurrence of ante-cedentless pronominais, it is suggested that the analytically required referential identity for anaphora resolution may not actually be an on-line processing requirement. What hearers may do is focus their attention on what is predicated of (at least some) pronominais, following the focus-marking of the speaker, and simply accept that there is, for the speaker, some referent or referential set for the pronominais encountered. Consequently, for the hearer, identifying the reference of those pronominais need not be a requirement in the interpretation of the speaker's utterance. That is, the interpretation of anaphora need not be, in some circumstances, a referential issue at all
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DOI 10.1093/jos/1.3-4.315
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