Lecturer: Petra Schumacher, University of Cologne
The study of reference has been approached from various angles in linguistics, philosophy and psychology. In this course we will address the questions of why so many different referential expressions are available, what their specific functional contributions are and how their use is constrained by the language system and more generally the cognitive system.
We will first examine the functions of referential expressions and their use conditions in context. We will focus on the referents’ cognitive accessibility and the context-change potential of referential expressions. Then we will assess the functional contribution of two particular instances of reference in more depth – demonstratives and definite expressions. We will further look at cases of reference resolution that involve operations at the interface of discourse-pragmatics with syntax and prosody before evaluating the conditions that govern referential choice.