Reference and inference by Dr. Shadia

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PRAGMATICS: REFERENCE AND INFERENCE : 

PRAGMATICS: REFERENCE AND INFERENCE By: Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar http://www.kau.edu.sa/SBANJER http://wwwdrshadiabanjar.blogspot.com Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 1 Words themselves do not refer to anything, people refer.

REFERENCE : 

REFERENCE The words we use to identify things are in some direct relationship to those things. In discussing deixis, we assumed that the use of words to refer to people and things was a simple matter. However, words themselves don’t refer to anything. People refer. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 2

Reference is an act in which a speaker, or writer, uses linguistic forms to enable a listener, or reader, to identify something. : 

Reference is an act in which a speaker, or writer, uses linguistic forms to enable a listener, or reader, to identify something. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 3

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Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 4

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Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 5 The categories of referring expressions

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These linguistic forms are called : referring expressions. They can be: proper nouns: Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 6 ‘HillaryClinton’ ‘Cairo’

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Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 7 ‘The city’ ‘the Secretary of State’ (b) noun phrases (definite): referring expressions can be:

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Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 8 referring expressions can be: ‘A woman’ ‘A place’ (c) noun phrases (indefinite):

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Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 9 ‘She, her’ ‘It’ referring expressions can be: (d) pronouns:

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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. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 10

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Reference is clearly tied to the speaker’s goals and  beliefs in the use of language. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 11

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Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 12 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: : 

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 Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 13

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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. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 14

For successful reference to occur, we must also recognize the role of inference. What are inferences? : 

For successful reference to occur, we must also recognize the role of inference. What are inferences? Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 15

Inferring is connecting prior knowledge to text based information to create meaning beyond what is directly stated. : 

Inferring is connecting prior knowledge to text based information to create meaning beyond what is directly stated. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 16

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. : 

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. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 17

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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. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 18

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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. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 19

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“Mr. Kawasaki.” Used to refer to a man who always rode loud and fast in his motorcycle. A brand name is used to refer to a person here. “Can I look at your Chomsky?” “I enjoy listening to Mozart.” This process, where additional information is needed to connect what is said to what is meant, is inference. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 20 Reference & Inference

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"In reference there is a basic collaboration at work: ‘intention-to-identify’ and 'recognition-of-intention’. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 21

Collaboration : 

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. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 22

“Our ability to identify intended referents has actually depended on more than our understanding of the referring expression". : 

“Our ability to identify intended referents has actually depended on more than our understanding of the referring expression". Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 23 The Role of Co-text

Identifying intended referents 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. : 

Identifying intended referents 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. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 24

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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. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 25 Cheese sandwich is made with white bread. The cheese sandwich left without paying.

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. : 

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. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 26

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Reference, then, is not simply a relationship between the meaning of a  word or phrase and an object or a 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 a  person will be interpreted as the speaker intended. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 27

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 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. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 28

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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”. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 29 Example: Peel and slice six potatoes. Put them in cold salted water.

Anaphoric reference : 

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”. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 30

Anaphor and antecedent : 

Anaphor and antecedent In English, initial reference,, or introductory mention, is often indefinite (a man, a woman, a cat). In the example the definite noun phrases (the man, the cat, the woman) and the pronouns (it, he, her, they) are examples of subsequent reference to already introduced referents, generally known as anaphoric reference, or anaphora. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 31

In technical terms, the second or subsequent expression is the anaphor and the initial is the antecedent: : 

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 Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 32

When the interpretation requires us to identify an entity, and no linguistic expression is presented, it is called zero anaphora, or ellipsis. : 

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.” Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 33

Zero anaphora, or ellipsis : 

Zero anaphora, or ellipsis Cook for three minutes. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 34

Zero anaphora or ellipsis : 

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’. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 35

"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". : 

"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". Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 36

“Successful reference means that an intention was recognized, via inference, indicating a kind of shared knowledge and hence social connection” : 

“Successful reference means that an intention was recognized, via inference, indicating a kind of shared knowledge and hence social connection” Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 37

Successful reference is necessarily collaborative (‘shared knowledge’). It allows us to make sense of the following sentences: : 

Successful reference is necessarily collaborative (‘shared knowledge’). It allows us to make sense of the following sentences: Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 38 Picasso’s on the far wall. My Rolling Stones is missing.

Any observation of normal conversational behavior makes it immediately clear that people never say exactly what they mean, and people always infer more than what was said. The question becomes, how are we able to accomplish this? How do we manage to say so little yet communicate so much? How do we communicate in spite of a language’s limitations? : 

Any observation of normal conversational behavior makes it immediately clear that people never say exactly what they mean, and people always infer more than what was said. The question becomes, how are we able to accomplish this? How do we manage to say so little yet communicate so much? How do we communicate in spite of a language’s limitations? Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 39

Example:A: Have you seen my Yule?B: Yeah, it is on the desk. : 

Example:A: Have you seen my Yule?B: Yeah, it is on the desk. Inference – any additional information use by the listener to connect what is said to what must be meant . Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 40

Inference : 

Inference The key process here is called Inference, it is an additional information used by the listeners to connect what is said to what must be meant . In the previous example, the listener has to infer that name of the writer of a book can be used to identify a book by that writer. Similar type of inferences are necessary t to understand some who says that Picasso is in the museum or I saw Shakespeare in London or I enjoy listening to Mozart. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 41

The examples of inference : 

The examples of inference (1) a. Where is the fresh salad sitting? b. He’s sitting by the door. (2) a. Can I look at your Shakespeare? b. Sure, it’s on the shelf over there. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 42

Three-dimensional diagram : 

Three-dimensional diagram Speakers------ reference------ intention Listeners------ inference------ interpretation Sense---reference---referent Word---meaning---entity Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 43

Logical understanding between reference and inference : 

Logical understanding between reference and inference These examples make it clear that we can use names associated with things (salad) to refer to people and names of people (Shakespeare) to refer to things. The key process here is called inference. An inference is any additional information used by the hearer to connect what is said to what must be meant. In example (2), the hearer has to infer that the name of the writer of a book can be used to identify a book by that writer. In pragmatics, the act by which a speaker or writer uses language to enable a hearer or reader to identify something is called reference. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 44

Examples of referential and attributive uses : 

Examples of referential and attributive uses a. There’s a man waiting for you. b. He wants to marry a woman with lots of money. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 45

Anaphora : 

Anaphora Anaphora is a subsequent reference to an already introduced entity. Mostly we use anaphora in a text to maintain reference. When we establish a referent( e.g. can I borrow your book?) and subsequently referee to the same object( yeah, it’s on the table) , we have particular kind of referential relationship between book and it. The Second ( and any subsequent ) referring expression is an example of anaphora and the first mentioned is called the “ antecedent” Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 46

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As with other types of reference, the connection between referent and anaphora may not always be direct. For example, In a complaint” I was waiting for the bus, but he just drove by without stopping” Notice that antecedent is bus and he anaphoric expression is “ he” we would normally expect it to be used for a bus. Obviously there is an inference involved here: if someone is taking about a bus in motion , assume that there is a drive. That assumed driver is inferred referent for “ he” .The term “ inference ‘ has been used here to describe what the listener or reader) does. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 47

Anaphora (Anaphoric reference) : 

Anaphora (Anaphoric reference) In most of our talk and writing, we have to keep track of who or what we are talking about for more than one sentence at a time, we use anaphoric reference. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 48

A: Can I borrow your dictionary?B: Yean, it’s on the table. : 

A: Can I borrow your dictionary?B: Yean, it’s on the table. Here, word it refers back to the word dictionary. The previous word dictionary is called the antecedent ,and the second word it is called the anaphor or anaphoric expression. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 49

Antecedent & Anaphora : 

Antecedent & Anaphora A:“Can I borrow your book?” B:“Yes, it’s on the table.” ‘The book’ and ‘it’ have a referential relationship. The first mention is called the antecedent. The second and any subsequent reference is called the anaphora. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 50

Cataphora : 

Cataphora I turned the corner and almost stepped on it. There was a large snake in the middle of the path. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 51

Indirect anaphora or bridging reference : 

Indirect anaphora or bridging reference I walked into the room. The windows looked out to the bay. ? ? Antecedent anaphor ? Indirect anaphora or bridging reference Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 52

Successful reference means that an intention was recognized, via inference, indicating a kind of shared knowledge and hence social connection. : 

Successful reference means that an intention was recognized, via inference, indicating a kind of shared knowledge and hence social connection. Remember that: Pragmatics is the study of how more gets communicated than is said. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 53

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Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar 54 HAVE A NICE DAY!

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