A Contextual Approach to the Study of Discourse Anaphoric Expressions: On the Probabilistic Nature of Theoretical Predictions

  •  Mozhgan Madhkhan    
  •  Mojtaba Mousavi    


Anaphoric expressions are among the most frequent language forms which depend on context for their resolution. Among efforts made in theorizing referential choice, distance approaches take into account how accessibility/continuity is reflected by choice of referring expressions. The thing is that individual’s choices are made under major and minor influences which affect the variable predictability of anaphoric expressions. In order to investigate the variability of individual writings in a free writing task (the present paper aims to investigate the variability of individual writings in terms of the use of anaphoric expressions in a free writing task). Narrative data was collected from 10native writers (of English/Persian in University of Isfahan) by presenting them a seven-minute soundless action movie and asking them to narrate its story. The results show a fair degree of diversity in varying frequencies of pronouns and Full NPs. It is suggested that diversity might be caused by two factors: referential strategies of text producers who consider the helping role of context as well as the degree of referential distance, referential ambiguity and salience.

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