endophora n.
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Endophora. In linguistics , endophora is a term that means an expression which refers to something intratextual , i.e. in the same text .

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In linguistics, endophora is a term that means an expression which refers to something intratextual, i.e. in the same text.

For example, in the sentences "I saw Belal yesterday. He was lying on the beach", "he" is an endophoric expression because it refers to something already mentioned in the text, i.e. "Belal".

exophoric expression
exophoric expression
  • By contrast, "he was lying on the beach," if it appeared by itself, has an exophoric expression; "he" refers to something that the reader is not told about. That is to say, there is not enough information in the text to independently determine to whom "he" refers to. It can refer to someone the speaker assumes his audience has prior knowledge of or it can refer to a person he is showing to his listeners. Without further information, in other words, there is no way of knowing the exact meaning of an exophoric term
  • an anaphora ( /əˈnæfərə/) is a type of expression whose reference depends on another referential element. E.g., in the sentence 'Sally preferred the company of herself', 'herself' is an anaphoric expression in that it is coreferential with the expression in subject position. Usually, an anaphoric expression is represented by a pro-form or some other kind of deictic--for instance, a pronoun referring to its antecedent. The term anaphor, an English singular variant, is sometimes used to designate an individual use: "an anaphor is a linguistic entity which indicates a referential tie to some other linguistic entity in the same text.
importance of anaphora
Importance of anaphora
  • Anaphora is an important concept for different reasons and on different levels. First, anaphora indicates "how discourse is constructed and maintained". Second, on the level of the sentence, anaphora binds different syntactical elements together. Third, in computational linguistics anaphora presents a challenge to natural language processing, since the identification of the reference can be challenging. Fourth, anaphora "tells us some things about how language is understood and processed", which is relevant to fields of linguistics interested in cognitive psychology.[
examples on anaphora
Examples on anaphora

The monkey took the banana and ate it. "It" is anaphoric under the strict definition (it refers to the banana).

  • Pam went home because she felt sick. "She" is anaphoric (it refers to Pam).
  • What is this? "This" can be considered exophoric (it refers to some object or situation near the speaker).
  • The dog ate the bird and it died. "It" is anaphoric and ambiguous (did the dog or bird die?).
  • I went home to take a nap because I thought it would make the headache go away. "it" is anaphoric (refers to the nap)
  • In linguistics, cataphora/kəˈtæfərə/ is used to describe an expression that co-refers with a later expression in the discourse. An example of strict, sentence-internal cataphora in English is the following sentence:
  • When he arrived home, John went to sleep.
  • In this sentence, the pronoun he (the anaphor) appears earlier than the noun John (the antecedent) that it refers to, the reverse of the normal pattern (anaphora), where a referring expression such as John or the soldier appears before any pronouns that reference it. Both cataphora and anaphora are types of endophora. As a general rule, cataphora is much less frequent cross-linguistically than anaphora.
examples on cataphora
Examples on cataphora
  • If you want some, here's some cheese.
  • After he had received his orders, the soldier left the barracks.
  • If you want them, there are cookies in the kitchen.
  • Cataphora across sentences is often used for rhetorical effect. It can build suspense and provide a description. For example:
  • He's the biggest slob I know. He's really stupid. He's so cruel. He's my friend Nick.
Continue …
  • The examples of cataphora described so far are strict cataphora, because the anaphor is an actual pronoun. Strict within-sentence cataphora is highly restricted in the sorts of structures it can appear within, generally restricted to a preceding subordinate clause. More generally, however, any fairly general noun phrase can be considered an anaphor when it co-refers with a more specific noun phrase (i.e. both refer to the same entity), and if the more general noun phrase comes first, it can be considered an example of cataphora. Non-strict cataphora of this sort can occur in many contexts, for example:
  • A little girl, Jessica, was playing on the swings.
  • ('The anaphor a little girl co-refers with Jessica.)
  • Strict cross-sentence cataphora where the antecedent is an entire sentence is fairly common cross-linguistically:
  • I should have known it: The task is simply too difficult.
  • Ich hätte es wissen müssen: Die Aufgabe ist einfach zu schwer. (Same as previous sentence, in German.)
  • Cataphora of this sort is particularly common in formal contexts, using an anaphoric expression such as this or the following:
  • This is what I believe: that all men were created equal.
anaphor resolution
Anaphor resolution
  • The resolution of an anaphor means finding what it is referring to. Resolution can be difficult when sentences are taken out of context:
  • The Prime Minister of New Zealand visited us yesterday. The visit was the first time she had come to New York since 1998.
  • If the second sentence is quoted by itself, it is necessary to resolve the anaphor:
  • The visit was the first time the Prime Minister of New Zealand had come to New York since 1998.
Although of course, as The Prime Minister of New Zealand is an office of state and she would seem to refer to the person currently occupying that office, it could quite easily be that the Prime Minister of New Zealand had visited New York since 1998 and before the present day, whilst the present incumbent she had not.
complement anaphora
Complement anaphora
  • In some special cases, an anaphora may refer not to its usual antecedent, but to its complement set.
  • In (1), the anaphoric pronoun 'they' refers to the children who are eating the ice-cream. Contrastingly, in (2), 'they' seems to refer to the children who are not eating ice-cream.
  • (1) Only a few of the children ate their ice-cream. They ate the strawberry flavour first.
  • (2) Only a few of the children ate their ice-cream. They threw it around the room instead.
The fact that sentences like (2) exist in the language seems at first odd: by definition, an anaphoric pronoun must refer to some noun that has already been introduced into the discourse. In complement anaphora cases, since the referent of the pronoun hasn't been formerly introduced, it is difficult to explain how something can refer to it. In the first sentence of (2), the set of ice-cream-eating-children is introduced into the discourse; but then the pronoun 'they' refers to the set of non-ice-cream-eating-children, a set which hasn't been priorly mentioned. One resolution of this problem is that 'they' refers to all the children, but the second sentence semantically excludes the children who ate ice cream, since children who ate their ice cream cannot throw it around the room

, deixis refers to the phenomenon wherein understanding the meaning of certain words and phrases in an utterance requires contextual information. Words are deictic if their semantic meaning is fixed but their denotational meaning varies depending on time and/or place. Words or phrases that require contextual information to convey any meaning – for example, English pronouns – are deictic. Deixis is closely related to both indexicality and anaphora, as will be explained below. Although this article deals primarily with deixis in spoken language, the concepts can apply to written language, gestures, and communication media as well. While this article draws examples primarily from English, deixis is believed to be a feature (to some degree) of all natural languages

types of deixis traditional categories
Types of deixis Traditional categories


  • Person deixis concerns itself with the grammatical persons involved in an utterance, (1) those directly involved (e.g. the speaker, the addressee), (2) those not directly involved (e.g. overhearers—those who hear the utterance but who are not being directly addressed), and (3) those mentioned in the utterance.[4] In English, the distinctions are generally indicated by pronouns. The following examples show how. (The person deictic terms are in italics, a signaling notation that will continue through this article.)
  • I am going to the movies.
  • Would you like to have dinner?
  • They tried to hurt me, but he came to the rescue.
  • In many languages, the third-person masculine pronoun is often used as a default when using "it" is inappropriate but the gender of its antecedent is unknown or inapplicable.
  • For example:
  • To each his own.
  • Also common is the use of the third-person plural, even when a singular pronoun is called for:
  • To each their own.
place deixis
Place deixis

space deixis, concerns itself with the spatial locations relevant to an utterance. Similarly to person deixis, the locations may be either those of the speaker and addressee or those of persons or objects being referred to. The most salient English examples are the adverbs“here” and “there” and the demonstratives“this” and “that” - although those are far from being the only deictic words.[3]

  • Some examples:
  • I enjoy living in this city.
  • Here is where we will place the statue.
  • She was sitting over there.
  • Unless otherwise specified, place deictic terms are generally understood to be relative to the location of the speaker, as in
  • The shop is across the street.
  • where “across the street” is understood to mean “across the street from where I am right now.”[3] It is interesting to note that while “here” and “there” are often used to refer to locations near to and far from the speaker, respectively, “there” can also refer to the location of the addressee, if they are not in the same location as the speaker. So, while
  • Here is a good spot; it is too sunny over there.
  • exemplifies the former usage,
  • exemplifies the former usage,
  • How is the weather there?
  • is an example of the latter.[4]
  • Languages usually show at least a two-way referential distinction in their deictic system: proximal, i.e. near or closer to the speaker, and distal, i.e. far from the speaker and/or closer to the addressee. English exemplifies this with such pairs as this and that, here and there, etc.
  • Time, or temporal, deixis concerns itself with the various times involved in and referred to in an utterance. This includes time adverbs like "now", "then", "soon", and so forth, and also different tenses. A good example is the word tomorrow, which denotes the consecutive next day after every day. The "tomorrow" of a day last year was a different day from the "tomorrow" of a day next week. Time adverbs can be relative to the time when an utterance is made (what Fillmore calls the "encoding time", or ET) or when the utterance is heard (Fillmore’s "decoding time", or DT).[3] While these are frequently the same time, they can differ, as in the case of prerecorded broadcasts or correspondence. For example, if one were to write
  • It is raining out now, but I hope when you read this it will be sunny.
  • the ET and DT would be different, with the former deictic term concerning ET and the latter the DT.
  • Tenses are generally separated into absolute (deictic) and relative tenses. So, for example, simple English past tense is absolute, such as in
  • He went.
  • while the pluperfect is relative to some other deictically specified time, as in
  • He had gone.
usages of deixis
Usages of deixis
  • It is helpful to distinguish between two usages of deixis, gestural and symbolic, as well as non-deictic usages of frequently deictic words. Gestural deixis refers, broadly, to deictic expressions whose understanding requires some sort of audio-visual information. A simple example is when an object is pointed at and referred to as “this” or “that”. However, the category can include other types of information than pointing, such as direction of gaze, tone of voice, and so on. Symbolic usage, by contrast, requires generally only basic spatio-temporal knowledge of the utterance, So, for example
  • I broke this finger.
  • requires being able to see which finger is being held up, whereas
  • I love this city.
  • requires only knowledge of the current location. In a similar vein,
  • I went to this city one time …
  • is a non-deictic usage of "this", which does not reference anything specific. Rather, it is used as an indefinite article, much the way "a" could be used in its place.