A grammatical term for the use of a pronoun or other linguistic unit to refer back to another word or phrase. Adjective: anaphoric.
Anaphora is a type of endophora.
Some linguists use anaphora as a generic term for both forward and backward reference. The term forward(s) anaphora is equivalent to cataphora.
For the rhetorical term, see anaphora (rhetoric).
Etymology:From the Greek, "carrying up or back"
Examples and Observations:
- "If a man has talent and can't use it, he's failed."
"If a man has talent and can't use it, he's failed."
- "No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother."
- "In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons."
- "Laws are like sausages; it is better not to see them being made."
(Otto von Bismarck)
- "Well, knowledge is a fine thing, and mother Eve thought so; but she smarted so severely for hers, that most of her daughters have been afraid of it since."
"Well, knowledge is a fine thing, and mother Eve thought so; but she smarted so severely for hers, that most of her daughters have been afraid of it since."
- "In contemporary linguistics [anaphora] is commonly used to refer to a relation between two linguistic elements, wherein the interpretation of one (called an anaphor) is in some way determined by the interpretation of the other (called an antecedent). Linguistic elements that can be employed as an anaphor include gaps (or empty categories), pronouns, reflexives, names, and descriptions.
"In recent years, anaphora has not only become a central topic of research in linguistics, it has also attracted a growing amount of attention from philosophers, psychologists, cognitive scientists, and artificial intelligence workers. . . . In the first place anaphora represents one of the most complex phenomena of natural language. . . . Secondly, anaphora has for some time been regarded as one of the few 'extremely good probes' in furthering our understanding of the nature of the human mind/brain and thus in facilitating an answer to what Chomsky considers to be the fundamental problem of linguistics, namely the logical problem of language acquisition. . . . Thirdly anaphora . . . has provided a testing ground for a number of competing hypotheses concerning the relationship between syntax, semantics, and pragmatics in linguistic theory."
(Yan Huang, Anaphora: A Cross-Linguistic Approach. Oxford Univ. Press, 2000)