Mentional references and familiarity break

In Hommages à Liliane Tasmowski. Unipress. Padoue. pp. 535-544 (1999)
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The main concern of this paper is the proper analysis of the NP celui-ci in French. The contribution of L. Tasmowski to this discussion is well known. In my view, this contribution makes two important points: 1) in its anaphoric uses, celui-ci cannot be analysed as a "nominal anaphoric" along the lines suggested by Corblin for its exophoric uses. This point is also made in Kleiber, Zribi-Hertz, Imoto ; 2) eventhough celui-ci like pronouns and definite NPS must be linked in its anaphoric uses to a familiar discourse referent, it involves "une rupture de familiarité" [a familiarity break]. Basically, I will argue in this paper that these two points are correct, although they seem to draw the analysis of celui-ci in two opposite directions and look somewhat paradoxical. In this paper, I propose a solution to those difficulties which is based on the analysis of celui-ci as a "mentional NP". Other mentional NPs in French are, for instance, le premier, le second, ce dernier. Mentional NPS, it will be claimed, are just NPs which are associated to a previously established discourse referent by using only the properties of the previous mention having evoked this discourse referent in the discourse context. I will claim that there is a strong association between mentionals and NPs without a noun in French, namely that mentional references are achieved by NPs without a noun. I will show moreover that this specific kind of reference based on contingent properties of a discourse referent is the key for understanding how a coindexed NP produces the break in topic continuity noted by Tasmowski.


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