no fun with pronouns

Barbara Need bhneed at GMAIL.COM
Wed Dec 8 08:48:00 UTC 2010

Except that I did so interpret it. That is, when I got to the noun
phrase "the man who..." I had a brief shock--I wasn't sure who it
referred to. I was able to figure it out, but the confusion was present.


Barbara Need

On 7 Dec 2010, at 2:30 PM, Ronald Butters wrote:

> 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 -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list