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Modes of Co-reference as an Indicator of Genre

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Wendy Swanson

This book explores the property of co-reference within various texts as a possible means of distinguishing genre types. Based on observed rather than invented material, it supplies empirical data on co-reference as a cohesive mechanism within authentic English texts. Co-referential form and frequency are identified in nine texts representing three genres: academic journals, news magazine articles and fictional narrative texts.
This study offers not only quantitative but also qualitative information regarding co-reference in three individual text types, thereby laying the foundation for a comparative study of the three different genres. Focusing on the property of co-reference in this way singles out differences in language use and allows for some pertinent statements to be made regarding modes of co-reference as an indicator of text variety.
Contents: Study of one aspect of text cohesion: co-reference – Definition of co-reference – Study of the modes of co-reference – Co-reference as a text-distinguishing language feature – Genre characteristics – Co-reference linked to language use – Language variation – Use of anaphora versus cataphora – Definition and identification of referent types – Systemic-functional linguistic approach as applied to co-reference – Influence of register variables (field, mode, and tenor) on co-reference – Quantitative and qualitative similarities and differences concerning use of co-reference in different text types.