Anaforische middelen voor topicverschuiving | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 15, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1384-5845
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1171


Third person pronouns that require an antecedent beyond their immediate clause build discourse coherence. There are two kinds of such pronouns in Dutch, p(ersonal)-pronouns and d(emonstrative)-pronouns. They make different contributions to the discourse coherence and the present paper deals with that difference. The d-pronouns have an obviative effect. That is, they have an antecedent restriction. They require a non-topic from the preceding sentence as its antecedent in order to introduce it as the topic of the new sentence. The result is that d-pronouns function as a topic-shifting device. The p-pronouns, by contrast, do not impose such a restriction on their antecedent, nor do they have the ensuing topic-shifting function. The topic-stating function of d-pronouns finds its origin in early child language, where the d-pronoun indicates a referent that is salient in the speech situation: “see pointing gesture or gaze of me speaker”. In later child language the topic-stating function is extended to the linguistic discourse: “or listen to the preceding focus constituent”. A comparison of the topic-stating devices in German, French and Italian leads me to reject Ariel’s (1990) accessibility hierarchy for anaphoric pronouns.


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