Sunday, 3 May 2015

Mistaking Experiential Identity For Textual Reference

Martin (1992: 110):
Referring to participants by name involves making use of signs which have been assigned to individuals in a community to uniquely identify them.  There are obviously more participants than names to go round in most communities and the system is only functional as long as participants in a given context are named differently.  Texts assign names to unfamiliar participants where necessary, making use of elaborate structures — for example the identifying clause in [3:30]:
[3:30] There was a little boy.  His name was Tommy.

Blogger Comments:

This mistakes the experiential identity of participants for the textual system of reference (which presents items as identifiable). 

In [3:30], the only instance of reference is the personal co-reference item his which refers anaphorically to a little boy.  Unlike the identifying clause, this cohesive relation expresses "meaning beyond the clause".

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