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Title: Bridging and relevance
Author: Matsui, Tomoko
ISNI:       0000 0000 2911 7780
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1995
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A bridging reference is a referring expression which has no explicitly mentioned antecedent, so that the existence of the referent has to be inferred from what has been explicitly mentioned. The phenomenon is illustrated in (1) and (2): (1) I went into the room. The window was open. (2) John went walking at noon. The park was beautiful. This thesis examines and attempts to explain the mechanism of bridging, using the framework of relevance theory. It argues against various existing accounts, and defends a relevance-theoretic account. Chapters 1 and 2 are introductory. Chapter 1 gives brief overview of past studies of bridging and introduces some of the main issues which this thesis aims to address. I also propose and defend a definition of bridging implicature. Chapter 2 summarises the central claims of relevance theory. It illustrates how reference assignment is carried out on the basis of the criterion of consistency with the principle of relevance. Chapters 3 to 5 contain the central arguments of the thesis. Chapter 3 discusses how the accessibility of candidate referents affects the hearer's choice of the intended referent. It surveys past studies, assesses the accounts of Sidner and Erku and Gundel, and concludes that they should be supplemented by relevance theory to produce a satisfactory account. Chapter 4 examines the role of contextual assumptions in the interpretation of bridging. It assesses Sanford & Garrod's scenario-based account and concludes that scenarios have more limited roles than Sanford and Garrod suggest. Chapter 5 investigates factors affecting the acceptability of bridging. Various accounts, including those of Clark and Hobbs, are tested against a wide range of examples on which I have conducted questionnaires. It argues that only relevance-theoretic account explains the results of the questionnaire. Chapter 6 summarises the thesis and briefly draws some conclusions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Verbal understanding