Reference

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Pragmatics: Reference and inference
Yule: “Words themselves do not refer
to anything, people refer”
Reference is an act in which a
speaker, or writer, uses linguistic
forms to enable a listener, or
reader, to identify something
(sesuatu).
Reference
Is the words we use to
identify things. In discussing deixis, we
assumed that the use of words to refer to
people and things was a simple/trivial
matter. However, words themselves don’t
refer to anything. People refer.
Reference Is an act in which a
speaker uses linguistic forms to
enable a listener to identify
something.
Linguistic forms are referring
expressions.
Three dimensional diagram
Speaker – Reference – Intention
Listener – Inference – Interpretation
Pragmatics: Sense – reference – referent
Semantics: Word – meaning – entity/object
Semantics: Word – meaning – entity/object
Ex: Elephant – a big animal which
characterized by a long trunk-
Semantics: Word – meaning –
entity/object
Horse – A short haired coat and hoofed
(berkuku) mammal having a long tail,
used for riding and for carrying loads.-
The categories of
referring expressions:
1)Proper nouns
2)Pronouns
3)Definite nouns
4)Indefinite nouns
Reference is an act in which a speaker, or writer, uses
linguistic forms to enable a listener, or reader, to
identify something. These linguistic forms are called
referring expressions.
They can be:
(a) proper nouns:
‘Brasília’
‘Mr. Faizal ’
Reference is an act in which a speaker, or writer, uses
linguistic forms to enable a listener, or reader, to
identify something. These linguistic forms are called
referring expressions.
They can be:
(b) noun phrases (definite):
‘The city’
‘The lecturer’
Reference is an act in which a speaker, or writer, uses
linguistic forms to enable a listener, or reader, to
identify something. These linguistic forms are called
referring expressions.
They can be:
(c) noun phrases (indefinite):
‘A place’
‘A man’
Reference is an act in which a speaker, or writer, uses
linguistic forms to enable a listener, or reader, to
identify something. These linguistic forms are called
referring expressions.
They can be:
(d) pronouns:
‘It’
‘He, him’
The choice of one type of referring
expression rather than another seems
to be based, to a large extent, on what
the speaker assumes the listener
already knows.
Reference is clearly tied to the
speaker’s goals and beliefs in the use
of language.
Yule: "it is important to recognize that not all
referring expressions have identifiable
physical referents. Indefinite noun phrases
can be used to identify a physically present
entity, but they can also be used to describe
entities that are assumed to exist, but are
unknown, or entities that, as far as we know,
do not exist".
Examples:
a) There's a man waiting for you.
b) He wants to marry a woman with lots of
money.
c) We'd love to find a nine-foot-tall
basketball player
Attributive use / referential use
a man waiting for you
a woman with lots of money
a nine-foot-tall basketball player
This is sometimes called an attributive
use, meaning 'whoever/whatever fits
the description'.
It would be distinct from a referential
use: a specific person is referred to,
although his/her name or some other
description is not used.
For successful reference to occur, we
must also recognize the role of
inference.
What are inferences?
Inferring is connecting prior
knowledge to text based information
to create meaning beyond what is
directly stated.
The role of inference in communication
is to allow the listener to identify
correctly which particular entity the
speaker is referring to. We can even
use vague expressions relying on the
listener’s ability to infer what is the
referent that we have in mind.
Listeners make inferences about what is
said in order to arrive at an
interpretation of the speaker’s intended
meaning. The choice of one type of
referring expression rather than another
seems to be based on what the speaker
assumes the listener already knows.
Words themselves don’t refer to anything.
People refer.
Because there is no direct relationship
between entities and words, the
listener’s task is to infer which entity the
speaker intends to identify by using a
particular expression:
“Mister Aftershave is late today”
"In reference there is a basic collaboration at
work:
‘intention-to-identify’ and
'recognition-of-intention’.
Collaboration
This process needs not only work
between one speaker and one listener; it
appears to work, in terms of convention,
between all members of a community
who share a common language and
culture.
Yule:“Our ability to identify intended referents
has actually depended on more than our
understanding of the referring expression".
It has been aided by the linguistic material, or co-text,
accompanying the referring expression. The referring
expression actually provides a range of reference, that
is, a number of possible referents. In the examples
below, the referring expression 'cheese sandwich‘
provides a number of possible referents. However, the
different co-texts lead to a different type of
interpretation in each case.
a) Cheese sandwich is made with white bread.
b) The cheese sandwich left without paying.
Yule: “The co-text is just a linguistic part of the
environment in which a referring expression is used.
The physical environment, or context, is perhaps
more easily recognized as having a powerful impact
on how referring expressions are to be interpreted.
Reference, then, is not simply a relationship
between the meaning of a word or phrase and an
object or person in the world. It is a social act, in
which the speaker assumes that the word or phrase
chosen to identify an object or person will be
interpreted as the speaker intended”.
In English, initial reference is often
indefinite. The definite noun phrases
and the pronouns are examples of
subsequent reference to already
introduced referents, generally known
as anaphoric reference, or
anaphora". In technical terms, the
second or subsequent expression is
the anaphora and the initial
expression is the antecedent.
Example:
Peel and slice six potatoes. Put them in
cold salted water
The initial referring expression 'six
potatoes' identifies something different
from the anaphoric pronoun 'them',
which must be interpreted as 'the six
peeled and sliced potatoes”.
Anaphoric reference
After the initial introduction of some entity,
speakers will use various expressions to
maintain reference:
“In the film, a man and a woman were
trying to wash a cat. The man was
holding the cat while the woman poured
water on it. He said something to her
and they started laughing”
In technical terms, the second or
subsequent expression is the anaphor
and the initial is the antecedent:
a man  the man  he
a woman  the woman she
he + she  they
When the interpretation requires us to
identify an entity, and no linguistic
expression is presented, it is called zero
anaphora, or ellipsis.
“Peel an onion and slice it. Drop the
slices into hot oil. Cook for three
minutes.”
Zero anaphora or ellipsis
The use of zero anaphora clearly creates
an expectation that the listener will be
able to infer who or what the speaker
intends to identify:
1. Peel an onion and slice it.
2. Drop the slices into hot oil.
3. Cook  for three minutes.
 = ‘slices’, ‘them’.
Yule: "the key to making sense of
reference is that pragmatic process
whereby speakers select linguistic
expressions with the intention of
identifying certain entities and with the
assumption that listeners will
collaborate and interpret those
expressions as the speaker intended".
Yule: “Successful reference means that
an intention was recognized, via
inference, indicating a kind of shared
knowledge and hence social
connection”
Successful reference is necessarily
collaborative (‘shared knowledge’). It
allows us to make sense of the following
sentences:
“Picasso’s on the far wall”
“My Rolling Stones is missing”
Successful reference means that an
intention was recognized, via inference,
indicating a kind of shared knowledge
and hence social connection.
Don’t forget:
Pragmatics is the study of how more gets
communicated than is said.
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