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'A man who revels in his own ignorance, racism and misogyny': Identifiable referents trump indefinite grammar

Jones, Katy 2018. 'A man who revels in his own ignorance, racism and misogyny': Identifiable referents trump indefinite grammar. Functional Linguistics 5 , 11. 10.1186/s40554-018-0063-y

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Abstract

Typically, a noun phrase beginning with the indefinite article introduces a referent assumed to be unknown to the addressee. But in newspaper opinion journalism, this is not always the case. In ‘instead of hailing its first female president, it [the US] seems poised to hand the awesome power of its highest office to a man who revels in his own ignorance, racism and misogyny’ (The Guardian, 9/11/16), ‘a man who…’ can be understood as a new referent or type. But once seen in context, where the identity of the man is known, it becomes clear that it is signalling something different. This paper examines how this sort of reference works by challenging existing accounts of ‘late’ indefinites and the meaning relation of co-extension. It is shown that lexical cohesive ties between the expression and preceding text and context create a shared space which allows these expressions to function ‘definitely’.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: SpringerOpen
ISSN: 2196-419X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 October 2018
Date of Acceptance: 15 September 2018
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2018 11:00
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/115937

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