no fun with pronouns

Ronald Butters ronbutters at AOL.COM
Tue Dec 7 19:30:48 UTC 2010

Right. But we don't interpret sentences--especially when they contain deictics--either in speech or in writing, "in strict grammatical terms," but in terms of discourse and pragmatics. There is no way that anyone would be unable to interpret VS's example exactly the way the speaker intended. This is not always the case, or course, especially when there is no clarifying context: "Tom gave Victor his lamb chop" is ambiguous. But there does not appear to be anything vague or ambiguous about the pronoun reference in the sentences that VS posted.

On Dec 7, 2010, at 2:15 PM, Robin Hamilton wrote:

> But the context (or lack of it, and I think Victor gave quite enough
> relevant material) is exactly the point.  We *infer from the context that
> "his", "him", and "the man" refer to the same person, but in strict
> grammatical terms, there is no reason why this should necessarily be so.

The American Dialect Society -

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