Sunday, 3 May 2015

Non-Phoric Reference

Martin (1992: 108):
Needless to say, the demonstratives this/these are not phoric in this usage; rather they signal that one participant in particular is focal at this point in the text.  The contrast is between [3:24] and [3:25] below.

So he looked under any log he could;

but there was nothing to be found.

So he looked under this log;

but it was slippery

and he couldn't hang on to it.

The log slipped out of his hand

and rolled away towards his dog…

Blogger Comments:

[1] Needless to say, the demonstratives this/these are phoric in this usage, whether exophoric, homophoric or endophoric (anaphoric or cataphoric).  Martin's self-contradictory claim here is that this usage is a type of reference, but that the reference item is not referring (phoric).

[2] In SFL theory, 'focus' refers to the focus of New information.  Martin's use of 'focal' here — rather than the previous 'central' — foreshadows a confusion between reference and information.

[3] Both of these texts are constructed by Martin.  Neither instance appears in either text [3:88] or in the original tale — Mercer Mayer's Frog, Where Are You? — of which [3:88] is a child's rewording.

To be clear, in [3:24], the non-specific Deictic any does not function as a reference item because it does not specify an identity to be resolved.

In [3:25], the demonstrative Deictic this does function as a reference item, but the incompleteness of the constructed text disguises the fact by not including any anaphoric referent.

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