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REFERENCE AND INFERENCE

A PAPER

Submitted to fulfill assignment on Pragmatics

Arranged by:
Mohammad Soni (147835129)
Class of P2TK

PROGRAM STUDI PENDIDIKAN BAHASA DAN SASTRA INGGRIS


PROGRAM PASCASARJANA
UNIVERSITAS NEGERI SURABAYA
2014

REFERENCE AND INFERENCE

A.

Introduction
We communicate through language as it is a means of communication. In communicating

each other, we share and respond the language that is subsequently understood each other. The
speaker, consequently, should apply such the understandable language that results the listener to
receive the intended meanings shared. Communication clearly depends on not only recognizing
the meaning of words in an utterance, but also recognizing what speakers mean by their
utterances. The messages uttered by the speakers result in what interpretation would be.
Interpretation on them could vary. To confine what interpretations are, both the speaker and
listener should have the same ideas, person, or things that could refer to. This is the function of
reference. Reference is normally defined as an act which on some occasion of utterance may be
used to refer .
states that under the heading of reference we encounter one of the most fundamental and
vital aspects of language and language use, namely, the relations between language, as a medium
of communication between human beings, and the world, about which we communicate. One of
the most basic things that we do when we communicate through language is to pick out entities
in the world and ascribe properties to them, or indicate relations between them. Reference, then,
is a kind of verbal pointing to or picking out of a certain object or individual that one wishes
to say something about .
Reference and inference are parts of pragmatics. Pragmatics is concerned with the study
of meaning as communicated by a speaker (or writer) and interpreted by a listener or a reader . It,
therefore, means that the utterances used indeed affect how they understand and interpret
precisely what they mean. In pragmatics, we discuss much more on messages and the
language users . There are many ways of reference in terms of pragmatics. In this paper, the
writer will explain about reference and inference, describe type the reference and other subtopics
which are related to the reference.

B.

Reference and Inference


define reference as an idea that is used to localize and objectify a certain type of

aboutness in a reasonable clear and intuitive way. Further, he explains that the focus of a
theory of reference has been on those elements of a sentence or utterance which most clearly
displays the intuitive phenomenon of reference, leaving aside the subsequent questions for
resolution within a more precisely articulated theory. In line with that, accounts for the function
of reference as the act of using language to refer the entities in the context. In reference, the
speaker uses linguistic forms, known as referring expressions, to enable the hearer to identify the
entity being referred to, which is in turn known as the referent. A successful act of reference
depends more on the listeners ability to recognize what we mean than on the listeners
dictionary knowledge of a word we use . Reference is, then, clearly tied to the speakers goals
(to identify something) and the speakers belief (can the listener be expected to know that
particular something?) in the use of language. In reference, there is also a basic intention-toidentity and a recognition-of-intention collaboration at work.
For successful reference to occur, it is also necessary to recognize inference. An inference
is additional information used by the listener to create a connection between what is said and
what must be meant. Because there is no direct relationship between entities and words, the
listeners task is to infer correctly which entity the speaker intends to identify by using a
particular referring expression, an expression to identity thing or person. explains that the hearer
uses inference in recovering what is communicated. Besides, in each case the inferences, the
hearer makes depend on contextual information that is, information which is not derived from
the meaning of the words uttered but from her/his knowledge of the world and the hearer also
makes appeal to the assumption that the speaker has met or has tried to meet certain standards.
The roles of inference are divided into the speaker and the hearer. For the speaker, he or she has
to intend to identify something and has some knowledge of what the listener knows. In other
hand, the listener has to infer from the speakers utterance that the speaker intends the listener to
identify something and to figure out what intended thing is. Therefore, to make reference
succeed, it is very necessary for both the speaker and hearer share the mutual knowledge. It is
some knowledge that the speaker and listener both know. If it is so, the reference and inference
work successfully. Reference and inference cannot be separated; it is simply because they are
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tied to another. If the hearer misleads to infer the intended meaning, the context that is expected
would lose.
C. Types of Reference
As in explained by , reference that can be form of expression is called referring
expression as an expression which on some occasion of utterance may be used to refer. There are
many ways in which a speaker may be said to refer, and, consequently, many different kinds of
referring expressions. For example, a speaker may refer either to an individual (singular
reference) or to a class of individuals (definite reference) or he may not have a specific referent
in mind (indefinite reference). explains that referring expression can be proper nouns, noun
phrases which are definite, or indefinite, and pronouns. The choice of one type of referring
expression rather that another seems to be based, to a large extent, on what the speaker assumes
the listener already knows.
Reference is divided into three categories. They are definite reference, indefinite
reference, and generic reference . Definite reference, also called singular definite reference, is the
most crucial for the functioning of language. The features of definite reference can be set as
follows: the intended referential target is necessarily a particular entity, the speaker should be
able, on demand, to give information that for them distinguishes the entity from all other entities,
and the act of reference brings with it to the hearer an implicit assurance that they have enough
information to uniquely identify the referent. There are many types of definite reference, for
example: proper names (Jake, Clare), deictic pronouns and determiners (this man, that girl),
personal pronouns (he, she), definite descriptions (the girl, the man).
On the other hand, the essence of indefinite reference is that the identity of the referent is
not germane to the message: that is, nothing hinges on the individual features of the referent only
the class features indicated are presented as relevant. Notice that this has nothing to do with
whether or not either speaker or hearer is in fact able to effect a unique identification of the
referent, for example: a man, a word, a book.
The generic reference might the last type of reference as explained by . Now consider the
following sentences: (a.) the tiger is a friendly beast, (b.) a tiger is a friendly beast, (c.) tigers are
friendly beasts. All three have readings which involve what is called generic reference, that is,
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reference to a class of referents. All of the above predicate friendliness as a general characteristic
of the members of the class of tigers. There are two sorts of proposition involving generic
reference as argument: either something is predicated of the whole class referred to, or something
is predicated of each member of the class. These two readings available under the heading of
generic reference are known as the collective reading and the distributed reading, respectively.
Sentences (a), (b), and (c) have different affinities for these two uses
D.

Referential and Attribute Uses


It is important to recognize that not all referring expressions have identifiable physical

referents. Indefinite noun phrases can be used to identify a physically present entity, but they can
also be used to describe entities that are assumed to exist, but are unknown or are not existed.
As explained by , Attribute use can be defined as an entity that is known to the speaker
only in terms of its descriptive properties. For example: He wants to marry a woman with lots of
money. The word a could be replaced by any in this case whose meaning is
whoever/whatever fits the description. In other hand, taking the same sentence example, in
referential use, the speaker actually has a person in mind and, instead of using her name or some
other descriptions; he chooses the expression, perhaps because he thinks the hearer would be
more interested that this woman has lots of money than that she has a name. Therefore,
referential use can be defined as an entity that is known by the speaker, but he uses other
descriptions to make his expression more interesting or fascinated to be uttered.
The point of this distinction between referential and attribute uses is that expressions
themselves cannot be treated as having reference, but are, or are not, invested with referential
function in a context by a speaker or writer. Speakers often invited us to assume, via attributive
uses, that we can identify what theyre talking about, even when the entity or individual
described may not exist .

E.

The Role of Co-Text


Co-text deals with the contextual context or the context of the text itself. Our ability to

identify intended referents has actually depended on more than our understanding of the referring
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expression. It has been aided by the linguistic material, or co-text, accompanying the referring
expression. The co-text clearly limits the range of possible interpretations we might have for a
word. Co-text is simply a linguistic part of the environment in which a referring expression is
used. The physical environment, or context, is perhaps more easily recognized as having a
powerful impact on how referring expressions are to be interpreted. Therefore, Reference, then,
is not simply a relationship between the meaning of a word or phrase and an object or person in
the world. It is a social act, in which the speaker assumes that the word or phrase chosen to
identify an object or person will be interpreted as the speaker intended .
F.

Exophora and Endophora


Exophoric reference can be defined as a reference when it is the first mention of the

referent, in the sense that there is no previous mention of the reference in the preceding text .
Thus, exophora is dependent on the context outside the text. For example:
DM:

I went with Francesca and David.

AF:

Uhuh?

DM:

Francescas room-mate and Alices a friend of Alices from London. There were six of
us. Yeah we did a lot of hill walking.
The us and we are not exophoric because they refer back to DM, Francesca, David,

Francescas room-mate, the friend of Alices, and Michelle, who are all mentioned elsewhere in
the text. The nouns Francesca and David are used as exophoric reference because they point
to people who are in the cultural context and are not referred to previously in the text.
The reference of the us and we, on the other hand, which refer back to the previously
referents mentioned is called endophoric reference. There are two types of endophora which are
called anaphora and cataphora.
To make it clear, lets take a look to the example:
We saw a funny home video about a boy washing a puppy in a small bath. The puppy
started struggling and shaking and the boy got really wet. When he let go, it jumped out
of the bath and ran away.
In this type of referential relationship, the second (or subsequent) referring expression is
an example of anaphora (referring back). The first mention is called the antecedent. So, in the
example, a boy, a puppy, and a small bath are antecedents and the puppy, the boy, he, it, and the
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bath are anaphoric expressions. Anaphora can be defined as subsequent reference to an already
introduced entity whose function is to maintain reference . If no linguistic expression is present,
it is called zero anaphora or ellipsis. The use of zero anaphora as a means of maintaining
reference clearly creates an expectation that the listener will be able to infer who or what the
speaker intends to identify. It is also another obvious case of more being communicated than is
said.
In the other hand, cataphora is the opposite pronouns link forward of a referent in the
text that follows. This is an example:
Students (not unlike yourselves) compelled to buy paperback copies of his novels
notably the first, Travel Light, though there has lately been some academic interest in his
more surreal and existential and perhaps even anarchistic second novel, Brother Pig
or encountering some essay from When the Saints in a shiny heavy anthology of midcentury literature costing $12.50, imagine that Henry Bech, like thousands less famous
that he, is rich. He is not. ((Updike 1970:11 quoted by )
The phrases of copies of his novels are introduced before we know who he is. It is
only several lines later that we learnt that the possessive adjective his links forward to the
proper nouns Henry Bech in the text that comes after. This is an example of cataphoric
expression. As we can see, whereas anaphora refers back, cataphora refers forward. It is a
stylistic choice, to keep the reader in suspense as to who is being talked about.
G.

Conclusion
Reference as an act by which a speaker (or writer) uses language to enable a listener (or

reader) to identify something. To perform an act of reference, we can use proper nouns
(Chomsky, Jennifer, and Whiskas), other nouns in phrases (a writer, my friend, the cat) or
pronouns (he, she, it). We sometimes assume that these words identify someone or something
uniquely, but it is more accurate to say that, for each word or phrase, there is a range of
reference. A successful act of reference depends more on the listeners ability to recognize what
we mean than on the listeners dictionary knowledge of a word we use. Reference, then, is not
simply a relationship between the meaning of a word or phrase and an object or person in the
world. It is a social act, in which the speaker assumes that the word or phrase chosen to identify
an object or person will be interpreted as the speaker intended.
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REFERENCES
Blakemore, Diane. 1992. Understanding Utterances: An Introduction to Pragmatics: Blackwell
Oxford.
Cruse, Alan. 2000. Meaning in Language. United States: Oxford University Press.
Cutting, Joan. 2002. Pragmatics and Discourse. London: Routledge Taylor&Frances Group.
Horn, Laurence, & Ward, Gergory. 2006. Handbook of Pragmatics (Vol. 26): John Wiley &
Sons.
Mey, Jacob L. 2001. Introduction to Pragmatics: Blackwell.
Yule, George. 1996. Pragmatics. New York: Oxford University Press.
Yule, George. 2006. The Study of Language. New York: Cambridge University Press.