Understanding any communication depends on the listener or reader recognizing that some words refer to what has already been said or written (his, its, he, there, etc.).
This mode of reference, anaphora, involves complicated cognitive and syntactic processes, which people usually perform unerringly, but which present formidable problems for the linguist and cognitive scientist trying to explain precisely how comprehension is achieved.
Anaphora is thus a central research focus in syntactic and semantic theory, while understanding and modelling its operation in discourse are important targets in computational linguistics and cognitive science.
Yan Huang provides an extensive and accessible overview of the major contemporary issues surrounding anaphora and gives a critical survey of the many and diverse contemporary approaches to it.
He provides by far the fullest cross-linguistic account yet published: Dr Huang's survey and analysis are based on a rich collection of data drawn from around 550 of the world's languages. Topics covered include binding and control, null subjects and objects, long distance reflexivisation, logophoricity, bridging-cross reference, switch-reference, and discourse anaphora.
Written by a leading expert on anaphora, the book will be the standard point of reference for all those interested in this important topic in theoretical linguistics.
It will be a vital reference for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in syntax, semantics, and pragmatics, on the interfaces between them, on linguistic typology, and on computational linguistics.