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Main Title: ‛Him, and ourselves, and it’: On the meaning of the ‛evidence poem’ in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Author(s): Maroldt, Karl
Type: Article
Language Code: en
Abstract: Pronouns have an indexical or deictic function. Their reference is variable, in the case of personal pronouns depending on pragmatic factors such as who is speaking to whom and who is being talked about, and it can be adjusted quite flexibly to textual and contextual, or conversational needs. So, while their anaphoric qualities make them an important instrument for creating textual cohesion, which under normal circumstances (i.e., on unmarked levels of interpretation) is a prerequisite for contextual coherence, their referential variability can result in vagueness and fluctuating uncertainty. What is locally cohesive can thus still be contextually incoherent. Proper names, on the other hand, are normally used as rigid designators. Quoted forms can be viewed as a specific class of (proper) names individualizing particular forms as relocations of their category (I cannot go into more detail here about the different kinds of nominalizations and their effects); quotation can thus be regarded as a means of transforming variable designators into rigid ones. In the enigmatic poem to be discussed, Lewis Carroll makes ample use of this instrument; as the English past tense doesn't have person or number agreement (cf. I/You/He/She/It went), he can easily avoid explicitly noting the difference between quoted and unquoted (anaphoric) forms, and can rather draw specifically on the resulting ambiguity. His virtuosity in handling the different levels of designation illustrates how human symbolic abilities allow him (and us) to introduce new levels of meaning and to stimulate our search for possible interpretations by obscuring the seemingly obvious.
Issue Date: 1998
Date Available: 10-Nov-2018
DDC Class: 400 Sprache
Subject(s): anaphora
symbolic abilities
Journal Title: Semiotica
Publisher: De Gruyter
Publisher Place: Berlin
Volume: 118
Issue: 1-2
Publisher DOI: 10.1515/semi.1998.118.1-2.121
Page Start: 121
Page End: 130
EISSN: 1613-3692
ISSN: 0037-1998
Notes: Dieser Beitrag ist mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers aufgrund einer (DFG geförderten) Allianz- bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich.
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.
Appears in Collections:Inst. Sprache und Kommunikation » Publications

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